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Stacey Lehman

Spontaneous Aphorism: Hope

Emily-Dickinson-Portrait 2"Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn't permanent."

-- Mignon McLaughlin
The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

via The American Scholar (Summer, 2008)

The line (which has also been attributed to Jean Kerr) makes it easier to grasp why Emily Dickinson [pictured left] ends with "despair" when "hope" is expected at the end of her poem "It was not Death, because I stood up." Implicit is the image is of a shipwreck:

But most, like Chaos - Stopless - cool -
Without a Chance, or spar -
Or even a Report of Land -
To justify - Despair.
American Scholar summer 2008

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

Click image to order


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