hope by any other name

Susan, one of the most loving and generous women i know, has been writing about becoming an optimist.  this morning, she wrote evocatively about the intersection of hope + optimism.  do read her post and the comments left by thoughtful readers.

her writing put me in mind of Gerard Manley Hopkins.  i just finished reading the novel Exiles by Ron Hansen which tells the story of the wreck of the transatlantic ship called the Deutschland, and the writing of the  epic elegy by Hopkins.  the novel is a worthwhile read, especially if you love Hopkins or are interested in poetry in general.  here is the 15th stanza:

      Hope had grown grey hairs,
      Hope had mourning on,
   Trenched with tears, carved with cares,
      Hope was twelve hours gone;
And frightful a nightfall folded rueful a day
Nor rescue, only rocket and lightship, shone,
      And lives at last were washing away:
To the shrouds they took,—they shook in the hurling and horrible airs.
oh these lines!  all that internal rhyme!  such a beautiful description of experiencing the place beyond hope, yet still somehow rooted in hope.  living in the tension–not an easy optimism that hides from the real pain of life, but not abandoned, not forgotten.  kept, treasured.
weekend reads linky party


  1. Achingly, hauntingly beautiful lines! They illustrate that hope is not a denial of our circumstances, but rather the way through them. And, often hope is a tattered banner that scarcely waves in the fury of life.

    It gives me pause to remember the early Christians, many of whom were torn apart by lions or boiled in oil for their faith. It was Hope carried them on to a brighter Day.

    Thank you for your kind words, Kortney. ♥

  2. S, thank you so much for letting us all be a part of this journey!

    Mystie, Hopkins is worth every bit of attention you give…i’ve written lots about him over the years…thanks for hosting!

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