Painting Hope

Paint big ideas on the old blank sky
paint them bright to catch the eye
Paint some more and paint it large:
paint the pollution from our cars
and paint the sea a foaming brown
and paint the greyness of our towns.

Then paint some green in one small place
to remind us of Earth’s persistent grace
and paint a flower but not a square
and paint some children playing there
Squares are the folly of human minds
so paint them over with wiggly lines.

Paint  a giant circle then
and paint a cross through, telling men
that big ideas are not welcome here
where we paint in cringing fear.
But through the cross we’ll see the paint
and in painting truth, we'll find hope's taint.

Written for dVerse poetics – Sara asks us to pick one of the supplied verbs and use it repeatedly at the beginning of phrases through our poem.

About two years ago I began subscribing to The Red Hand Files – the website of Nick Cave. His most recent response to a question was with regards to cynicism and hope. I thought he wrote it beautifully. I found it inspiring and I have quoted it below:

“You are right to be worried about your growing feelings of cynicism and you need to take action to protect yourself and those around you, especially your child. Cynicism is not a neutral position — and although it asks almost nothing of us, it is highly infectious and unbelievably destructive. In my view, it is the most common and easy of evils.
I know this because much of my early life was spent holding the world and the people in it in contempt. It was a position both seductive and indulgent. The truth is, I was young and had no idea what was coming down the line. I lacked the knowledge, the foresight, the self-awareness. I just didn’t know. It took a devastation to teach me the preciousness of life and the essential goodness of people. It took a devastation to reveal the precariousness of the world, of its very soul, to understand that it was crying out for help. It took a devastation to understand the idea of mortal value, and it took a devastation to find hope.
Unlike cynicism, hopefulness is hard-earned, makes demands upon us, and can often feel like the most indefensible and lonely place on Earth. Hopefulness is not a neutral position either. It is adversarial. It is the warrior emotion that can lay waste to cynicism. Each redemptive or loving act, as small as you like, Valerio, such as reading to your little boy, or showing him a thing you love, or singing him a song, or putting on his shoes, keeps the devil down in the hole. It says the world and its inhabitants have value and are worth defending. It says the world is worth believing in. In time, we come to find that it is so.

14 thoughts on “Painting Hope

    1. Thanks, JYP. I’m glad you think so. Rhymes and I don’t always get along. Well, it’s not the rhymes, it’s the rhythm that I often struggle with. I didn’t count syllables for this one. I just felt it. Hopefully it worked.


    1. THank you, Misky. Your support is so appreciated. I am actually gathering myself together to submit stuff. There’s always something which unbalances my week. This week it’s that we’re in isolation because Mr W has caught Covid. So the kids and I are knocking about together while poor Mr W is locked in our bedroom. I feed him pizza and pancakes that I can slide under the door. 😉


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