Saturday, July 4, 2015

Katharine Harer: "How to Hope"

I’m reading a book on hope
which sounds like I’ve taken up tatting
old fashioned and harmless

hope is unpopular
even Buddhists diss it telling us to live
in one awful moment at a time
and these days almost everyone wants to be a Buddhist

hope is hard to grasp when your imagination’s
grown fat on darkness
like the thick underside of a mushroom

tragedy is grand scale
predictably beautiful in its way
hope is hokey
imperfect full of stumbling little acts

the way a strand of neighbors standing in the rain
on the shoulder of Highway One American flags
in their hands and homemade signs:
Peace is Patriotic
can make another strand start up
even in the imagination

standing on a curve of the coast highway
where the land seems to fall away
into the open mouth of the ocean
their bodies like flags
waving sloppily
steadfast in the downpour

        with thanks to Rebecca Solnit for her book, Hope in the Dark

"How to Hope" by Katharine Harer. Text as posted on Talking Writing: The Search for Intelligent Media (03/26/14).

Curator's note: This poem is offered in observance of the Independence Day (July 4th) holiday here in the United States.

Art credit: "Picture of the day: 5 July 2010," photograph by AP. Caption: "An American flag is seen through rain drops on a wind shield on the fourth of July in Salina, Kansas."

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