A Walk With Hope

• Topics: USA & World, Law & Justice,

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”
…Martin Luther King

                                   A Walk With Hope   
                                                                                                By Ellen Murphy
                                                                                                 January 15, 2015
                        We walked along the shore of the                    …
           intuitive mind, the one Albert Einstein called sacred.
              He said:
               Change your thinking. To solve your problems,
                      you must never be the same.
        I asked the mindful wind to blow away some ganglia,
                  let new mind come to fore.
            I confessed to Hope I’ve walked with her before,     
                   but now it’s sometimes hard
                                   to even say her name.
       She said don’t define me. We will imagine each other.

So I saw her clear, a thing we live within, not a thing we have.
     It was simple —
            everything alive wants to live, and she’s the field
         it lives in.
              I met her in the seagrass, and the fish. I saw her
      in the vetch.

But, I said, Grandmother, I need more. All life is in your field,
               you’re their desire and their dance, but
                                                              we humans  think.
        And we’ve thought ourselves into a wretchedness.

Can you take Albert’s warning to our hearts? Put hubris to shame?
            Can you help us change the way we think? 

Work the program. Chatter less. Come through my doorway, child.
                Love will take you there. Love will
   help you think in new way, the way of the sacred balance,
                the hoop of Black Elk.   You will think like
             the inside trip of Gil Scott Heron, that won’t be
          televised; the happiness way of the 14th Dalai Lama;
                   the thankful way of Cesar Chavez,
                                                                  the thankful struggle.
Where is your doorway?  I asked.                             

  I am the doorway, she replied.
                 But you have to keep moving. Those who stay too long
in the threshold remain a wish and lose momentum.
      You’re standing there. Let yourself love, be caught—in the
network of mutuality Martin saw, the single garment
         of destiny.    Then see what happens when you think.
I wanted to. But already at an inner brink, I cried.

                  Democracy is gasping.
                  The Earth choking, in fever.
                  The world, a battlefield.

       She was nodding, like eel grass.
Many times I have escaped,  unextinguished.
                         You see,
they really need me
out of the way.

          I am the portal to potential. The possible. The conscious. So I must be
strafed for race… You see,

I descend from the first mothers, the mothers of hope.

The Ancestors, I thought. And we… the ancestors of the future.

But what to do with the toxic powers, and their believers, I asked.
                   And the hate flame, they’ve lit.
       What do they care for

          Alchemize! With your grief and pain. Your yes and no.
                 Not humiliation; that makes poison grow.
          Nonviolence will their brains bewilder, she said, and
    their well-armed hearts, outwit.  Asymmetric peace-fare.
                        Do not cooperate.
                        Do not hate.
         Those are the arrows. I am the bow.

I heard how they fear her, and the horror.
I heard what to do, who she is.
                                  How could I spill more gall?
But flailingly, I did.

          Some say you died of exposure, on a red and black poster.

I am not dead; I did not die, she said.
          They say you’re counter-revolutionary, complacency, a trope.

If they stayed in the door, like you, she said, their wish was not yet hope.

          The resistance I was in was the
wrong resistance,
I knew.
The tide was
rising, an empathic sky, still blue.

I stepped through.

She walked back toward the holy and harrowed sea.
I said wait—your turn to confess.
Are you… infinite?

She said…

About Guest Writer

Citizen Journalist • Member since Jun 15, 2008

Since 2008, this moniker has been used over 130 times on articles written by guest writers who may write once or very occasionally for Northwest Citizen, but not regularly.

Comments by Readers

Dena Jensen

Jan 19, 2015

I was able to catch the Bellingham Martin Luther King event on TV today, since I couldn’t manage to get out of Birch Bay.  It was a blessing to get to see the contemplative and heartfelt performances and presentations. Not the least of these was Ellen and her daughter Maggie reading the thoughtful and thought-provoking poem above.  I find it a talented melding of past, present, and future vistas within the context of one of our most invaluable “ancestors.”


Sandy Robson

Jan 20, 2015

Ellen: Your poem is such a wonderful work of art. When you wrote, “She was nodding, like eel grass,” it made me think about the Cherry Point herring; the eelgrass which hides the herring eggs and juvenile herring; the eelgrass which shelters the salmon and feeds the salmon.

Each blade of eelgrass offers hope to the herring, and each herring offers hope to the salmon, and each salmon offers hope to the orcas. Eelgrass nourishes all which in turn nourish us and nourish the Lummi and Nooksack peoples.

The Lummi are leading the way for us, for the eelgrass, for the herring, for the salmon, and for the orcas. They are leading all toward a better way of life, toward Hope; and Hope, like the eelgrass, nods as we all see the wretchedness grow smaller in the distance as we move through the doorway.



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