Friday, January 27, 2017

"No Hope" Is Not the Same As Without Hope

I've been busy teaching six college courses...Anything happen this week?

Seriously, I've been busy teaching, and everything that happened in my classrooms has provided a stark contrast to everything that has happened in the Oval Office and other Trump-tainted venues. Focused and engaged discussion by adults who want to learn about one another's world view, versus...well, versus the exact opposite in every possible way. So I've had a great week. And not.

And that (added to the previous couple of months) has caused me to rethink the concept of hope. I don't think I believe in it, if I ever did (I am a gloomy poet, after all). And it's not hope, so much as magical thinking...That's what I am really trying to understand: The line between hope (inspirational, bring-out-the-best beliefs, uplifting, influencing in a positive way of current behavior) versus magical thinking (delusional, bring-out-the-denial beliefs, paralyzing, influencing in a negative way of current behavior).

I cannot hope my students do well, and then sit back for fifteen weeks, signing "executive orders" to the effect of "That chapter shall be read" and "That paper shall be written" and "That poem shall be explicated." Old, odd habits of hope must be put off. The new abnormal must be met with something equally as new. It was met with something new last weekend in cities all over the world. It has been in my classes this past week: a new energy, perhaps coming from me, perhaps from my students--I'm certain only that I felt some little glimmer of renewed effort to do something, even if that something is learn. That's yuge, right? Into the mist, old habit of hope.


into the mist old habit of hope
into the mist odd habit of hope
into the missed odd habit of hope
into the missed odd haven't of hope
into that missed odd haven't of hope
into that missed odd haven't any hope
isn't that missed odd haven't any hope


  1. Juxtaposition.
    __ I'm aware I am not of your status nor will I ever be, but within my contraries of converse or negative thoughts, I can create that search for hope that we all seek. This I scribbled when I was fifteen years old, and that, during the winter of 1958.

    The world in in my hands,
    Mine are scarred and stained
    By the gashes and blood of past mistakes.
    The future will cleanse and cure them,
    To preserve the evil that lies within me,
    For without evil, there can be no good
    And good is the blood of humanity.

    1. Magyar, please do not be concerned with such things as "status." We are all poets here, and, more importantly, we all care about our world and one another. As soon as I posted my blog entry about hope this morning, I began to worry that I was engaging in cultural privilege...only a comfortable, safe person in a relatively stable environment can indulge thoughts of a life without hope. But I decided to leave my post up and continue on this idea in a later post. I think I am really looking for something to call this new type of "looking forward" that those of us living in the United States at this particular moment in history need. "Hope" alone doesn't feel like it's enough any more. Those are my broad-not-deep thoughts. Thank you for your comment and for letting me continue the conversation!