Harbingers of Hope and Fear

Monday Morning Musings:

“They look like what you aren’t expecting. What you aren’t paying attention to.”

Neil Gaiman, “Click-clack the Rattlebag”

“Between those happenings that prefigure it
And those that happen in its anamnesis
Occurs the Event, but that no human wit
Can recognize until all happening ceases.”

–W.H. Auden, Epigraph in his Homage to Clio


I wanted to write about spring,

about flowers and birdsong–


the things before

the sky turned grey

and people were killed

as they prayed

(they were prey).


Here I see the crocuses bloom,

sunlight pours into the rooms

through windows opened wide.

(How do we stem the tide,

the hate and fear

that appears

year after year

after year?)


He says there’s no big threat

as he foments and abets,

time before and time after

disasters loom

say the forecasters

tornados and floods

in the heartland

(land of hearts—

What is the sound of them breaking?)


My heart beats

some no longer do–

the ones who aren’t you

reading these words

that fly across the page,

free to sing,

uncaged birds

of nouns, adjectives, and verbs


of action

and reaction

What should we do?

What can we say

to drive the hate away?

Verbs: endure, resist, speak out, sway

push against the rising tide

the climate’s changing

(too many dead).


And is it wrong to drink some wine?

celebrate life

while there’s time?

To laugh at a chicken amidst the vines–

more verbs: to love, to dance, to find romance?

If we don’t do these things

then don’t fear and hate win–

making us grovel and dour

unable to see or smell the budding flowers?


And so, we listen to music

“Making the best of a bad situation,”

he sings

we laugh

we tap our feet with the beat

of guitar strumming,

the music remains in my head


though fear

still floats through the air,

between the happenings

the imaginings

and the paying attention

through the misdirection–

sometimes they look like what

you’re not expecting–

you might misconstrue.

But beware,

sometimes they do.


Yet—when I open my door

at the start of day

wondering if I’ve lost my way–

my soul rises and soars

to hear the predawn choir sing

returning to nest again

in budding trees,

I seize this moment

make it mine,

the joy it brings–


now, I write about spring.


We saw Tom Rush at the World Café in Philadelphia last night. His concerts are always a treat. This concert was my husband’s birthday present.

***The WP Gremlins were enjoying themselves last Monday. Some people told me they never got a notification about my post that day. Here it is, if you didn’t see it and you’re interested.







24 thoughts on “Harbingers of Hope and Fear

  1. Yes, this line: “I seize this moment / make it mine,” Sometimes it’s all we can do, sometimes it’s the least we can do.

    Your play on words–prayed, prey–reminds me of a conversation with my husband last night, when I expressed the wish that people would start calling out these white nationalists/terrorists for what they are: cowards. A church, synagogue, mosque is supposed to be a sanctuary, the one place where anyone and everyone can feel safe. Why are they targeted? Because the terrorists are in effect cowards. It’s not an act of bravery to wait for people to gather in a place where they should feel safe and then shoot them, ensuring they are unable to protect themselves. News media trumpet the number of dead like the results of a video game and another sick person thinks, “I can do better than that.” Yes, these people are to be feared and at the very least we need to ensure that they cannot and will never get their hands on weapons of mass destruction (which is what the AR-15 is), but they are also cowards because they fear the other. A truly brave soul fears no one and welcomes everyone. Eh, I’m hijacking your post. Sorry!

  2. It’s interesting that harbingers are the titles for our posts today…the Oracle at work again, I suppose.
    How to find that balance between hope and despair…and to not give up that we can make change, make things better…that’s the challenge.
    But the promise of another spring is always there. (K)

  3. The interlinking rhymes are so good, as always, binding the thoughts together—a hallmark of yours. You’re right to take your pleasures when you can. There are so many who would be only too glad to be able to.
    I didn’t get a notification for this post, or the previous one.

    • Thank you very much, Jane. It seems like the last few weeks there is just so much bouncing around between beautiful weather and horrible weather, good things here and horrible things happening in the world. . .Everything seems so unsettled.

      And–thanks for seeking out my post. 🙂
      Ken said he had to re-follow me, I think. I noticed once that I wasn’t receiving some posts, and I had to re-follow some people. I also just found a notification for someone’s blog post in my junk mail. . .

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