Emily Dickinson says, “Hope is the thing that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”


If hope were so constant why does it often feel so elusive?

If hope were so constant why must it be

Fragile, like a bird?

Why must it molt and

Give away its feathers to the changing of seasons,

To the pains of growth,

To the tides of purpose and




Why must Hope be so near and feel so far

Like a jar

Holding gold that sits tightly closed

While my failing muscles

Drip like gas from a leaking tank

On the ground?

A car without gas has no purpose.





Does anyone else wonder about their purpose?

Does anyone else feel like a drifter,

A tumbleweed

Blowing quickly with the direction of the wind,

Sometimes far out to the east and


In a circle,

Round and round in a dizzying dance of looking toward

But not seeing

And running and

Gasping and

Stopping and

Breathing hard

Heavy like a prisoner broken out of jail

Without a crime but only time—

How have I spent it?

Where am I going?

Why am I here?





There is a definition of hope that fails.

It flails in the wind

Blown through a flame on top of a candle and then


In the smoke.

This pointless hope is a wish.

Only a wish

Wandering while I

Wonder what to grab on to.

What to hold.

How to mold my lips into a circle meant to whisper into the smoky darkness,

“What next?”

This definition of hope is a lingering mess,

Like the pile left

After the raccoons have eaten what is left

And the opossums have rolled their wiggly bodies through the smell left behind by the

Spoils of the theft.



Hope is just a wish,

A dream,

A word some say but Emily Dickinson says,

“A word that is spoken begins to live that day”

And hope is eternal so it isn’t right,

This definition.



What does God say?



It’s unpopular,

A menace to society that stalks the hearts of men

Wherever they go,

Never knowing—these words, this God, and

That man

Cloistered in the shadows of Sunday.




Day light,

Day time,

Time to find,

Remember the anchor.

The pavement below our feet,

The dirt below the street,

The mud, the dust, the worms,

The bugs all the way to the center,

The heartbeat,

The core.

There is hope that erupts like a volcano from which we run,

We are stunned and

Stop and

Look back and see the blaze and count our days and wonder,

“What have I done?”

What am I doing to light a fire under my own purpose?




My flame is nothing without His breath.

His volcano breathes like a dragon from the depths of victory.

He was

And is

And is to come.

To go

To look to the left and to the right is a fight with no victor.

The victor is a head nod up,

A hand flying toward the sky,

A knee bent

A heart rendered useless without Him who

Lifts your head,

Who brings life to the dead.



He did not come to make bad men good

He came to make dead men live,

So live.

And live,

Like a thing that flies, that never dies

That soars like a bird

A bird that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and

Never stops

Never stops

Never stops

At all.

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: German painter Heiko Müller’s painting, Biofeld.