Hope was written on a particularly bad afternoon, when my chronic pain was blotting out the sun, and I was feeling angry, isolated and sad. If you have serious sciatica or any other kind of chronic pain, you will know what I am talking about.

Sometimes hope is a vital force for good. Other times, hope is a merciless tease, a cruel and heartless dead end. In fact, there are times when a person might be better off without it altogether.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the poem.


The waiting room, the exam room.

The doctor, papers held tightly in his hand.

“Not good news, I’m sorry,” he says, studying the ends of his shoes. 

His mouth moves, hands sifting through the papers,

but the room marshmallows into a blur,

all sounds become one.

Somehow I got myself out of there and out into the sunshine. 

I sat down on the curb in the parking lot, holding my head in my hands. 

And there I sat, thinking my thoughts.

Then there you were, sitting right there next to me,

a vision of gentle loveliness in a white cotton dress.

You danced bright Maybe in front of me and

Pied Piper’d, I followed you, I followed you.

Together down the middle of the street

past the parking lot, beyond the houses,

talking and laughing.

Your bright blue eyes encouraged me.

Each bounce of your step was filled with promise;

everything about you was sweet summer.

Up we went into the meadow and beyond, through

wildflowers with faces upturned to the sun,

a kaleidoscope against the vaulted azure sky.

Onward we walked, higher and higher,

until my despair and sadness melted into the afternoon.

I did not notice when the breeze picked up,

or when we left the flowers behind and passed

more rocks than trees – no, I was too busy with

Tantalus dangling at the end of a stick,

a brass ring ever out of my reach,

but ooooh so close. 

Now the wind balloons my dress, whipping it around my legs,

and coldest raindrops splatter my bare arms.

Dark clouds fill the sky, as all of my

dreams dissolve in the rain, and Hope,

you are nowhere to be found.

It’s a long, bitter journey back, but I know the way.

You see, I’ve been here before.

I hear your voice on the wind, but I no longer listen.

Perhaps my song was written long before I learned to sing,

unchangeable, carved in stone.

Hope is a roller coaster, hurtling into space.

Dangerous, wild with possibilities,

Filled with risk and heartbreak. 

A pair of rolling dice clink together and come to a stop,

and everyone looks to see.

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