Hope      (*R. Tagore)

The house was empty; I was eating cold beans, rice and an avocado
It hadn’t been the best of days
There were troubles at work; I had some of my own
And these were overshadowed by those of the Bush world
So, I tuned in the airwaves; in the blink of an eye, she, Goddess of the air,
Was asking, "What are you grateful for? Let me know.”
I was struck - the very idea - what WAS I grateful for?
Stirred and disturbed … a rising maelstrom of unease
Caught my breath – I stilled …  braced as upwelling forces flowed - heating
My heart strained and eyes brimmed - over filled
As precious jewels poured forth my silent reply was for hope … hope
Was what I was thankful for that Christmas season
With out cause, pause or reason, a simple joy of the breast
Which soothes and warms as does a Yule log glowing in its hearth
Mantled as it is … mantled as I am … hope
With so little reason - in fact with none at all
Flying in the face of hard nosed facts
And it doesn’t matter if it’s only you or I
Who harbor its delicious resource because, even if that were so
It would be a treasure all the more worthy
Such a rare gift is heaven’s breath
“Hope, the evidence of things unseen … it is the bird that sings
While dawn is still dark”*
Even though it seemed of no use, with no solution, answer or resolution
When nothing eased my heart’s ache
Hope …  needs no evidence … it is the evidence
Hope needs no cause … it is cause enough
Hope provides where nothing else will
For it needs nothing, is nothing … takes nothing
While giving it all away … it’s as timely as your next wish
No farther away than your next breath
As intimate as each and every heartbeat must be
Hope is what I was grateful for and that’s what I would have told her
If I could have gotten through on that lone, low wintry day.

Dan Brady


Upon being asked: “Who influenced you?”

How and when does a story begin? How are we to know?
When I think on it, any tale, no matter its size, must begin long ago.
So when asked who influenced me I gave my friend an analogy.

Consider a stream, I said, even a small one, near to hand
Is not its course ever guided by contours of the land?
Is it not deflected by every rock, bit of soil or living thing
With which it co-exists before and after the stony lip of its spring?

And are not all these things but a postscript, proceeding from a source
Which charges the nature of the stream, and so effects its discourse?
Nor should I fail to say that forests and men alike surely do amend it
For its worth is clear to those temporal beings who can apprehend it

But the fishes and all the living things can not be the stream,
Nor, for that matter, can it be the water, or so it would seem:
For the flow is ever carried off, even as we watch, for sport
Whether by evaporation or gravity's simple transport.

It is surely not its path, or the things it has carried off,
Nor could it be its remains, a shallow drying trough.
A stream then is a time and place, dependent on conditions
Which, if the truth be told, have utmost antiquity as its origins,  

Preconditions, which, if they be scientifically analyzed, with-all
Stretch back to the beginnings of time and matter immemorial
And, perforce, do they not, I waxed, extend too onward in time
Until the very edge of doom itself.  Imagine a stream so sublime!

And so full circle I came as my analogy found its end.
What are the credits I must roll to answer my friend?
No less than everyone who has ever been or may yet be
Nothing less than that full chorus, say I, have clearly influenced me.

Dan Brady