Monthly Archives: November 2016

Hang On to Your Hope

This is a letter from E.B. White on the subject of hope. He wrote it in response to someone’s letter predicting a grim future for humanity:

North Brooklin, Maine
30 March 1973

Dear Mr. Nadeau,
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

E. B. White

Making Sorrows Disappear 

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” — Anne Frank 
“In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit. ” –Anne Frank

I Sat Down to Write a Bad Poem

I sat down to write a bad poem,
all skin belt above tight fitting jeans,
all balls and wheel rims and neon on velvet,
a lurid symphony, a runny peach pie of a poem.

I sat down to write a bad poem,
one where Nixon marries Jackie O
and they make a border run in stolen clothes,
and open a wax museum in Juarez with only two people in it.

I sat down to write a bad poem
and all I kept thinking about was you–
twelve years into a five year diagnosis,
still laughing and telling dirty jokes

about the penguin who blew a seal
and taking Tamoxifen and smoking dope
and singing Angel from Montgomery
and I remembered there aren’t any bad poems,
just ones you refuse to let go of.