A New Metaphor for Hope

Emily Dickinson was wrong.
Hope is not a thing with feathers
with fragile bird bones or bird brain
or small trembling heart aflutter.
It does not fly off when you reach
for it, does not turn one dark eye
and then the other in judgment
of your slow, lumpen weightiness,
your inability to lift
yourself to sky. It does not scold
or warble sweet nothings at dawn
or dusk. It is the thing four pawed
and barking, panting, leashed but not
by leash subdued. Barely restrained,
it pulls and yanks, drags you from goal
to goal, relentlessly forward
despite stumbling, reluctant feet
or arms that ache. It stretches reach
and looks back with expectant eyes
and a wagging encouragement.
Hope is a loyal, sturdy beast,
and, most important, hope will come
when called. You only have to call.

Cecil Morris

About the poet: Cecil Morris is a retired high school English teacher, sometime photographer, and casual walker. He spends a fair amount of his newly abundant free time reading poetry and trying to write what he formerly taught students to read and, he hopes, to enjoy. He and his indulgent partner, mother of their children, divide their time between the relatively arid Central Valley of California and the cooler coast of Oregon. He has poems appearing or forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, New Verse News, Rust + Moth, The Sugar House Review, Willawaw Journal, and elsewhere.