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Tom Ramsey


Hope


Hope swirls around the little boy's head
Jumping on the bed Christmas morning
Giddy and laughing

Hope carries him on fairy wings
Down the stairs to the den at six a.m.
And giggles as he whispers
"You know it's gonna be there."

Hope fills his eyes with wonder
As he surveys the packages
As he selects the first one
As he tears through
The paper
And the ribbon
And the tissue

Hope squeals with eagerness
And tells the little boy that he
Will find his new train

And when the little boy finds
A sweater instead
Hope never lets up
"Just open the next one,
You know it's gonna be there."

And he surveys the packages
And he selects the next one
And he tears through
The paper
And the ribbon
And the tissue

Hope reassures with kindness
And tells the little boy that this time he
Will find his new train

And when the little boy finds
A book instead
Hope never lets up
"Just open the next one,
You know it's gonna be there."

An on and on it goes
Until there are no packages left
And the floor is littered with
Empty boxes

And hope never says another word
While he sneaks out the window
Smiling from ear to ear
Leaving the little boy alone to answer
The knock at the door

Hope swirls around the young man's head
Before sitting in the seat beside him
Giddy and laughing

Hope carries him on fiery hooves
Down the road to the party at eight p.m.
And giggles as he whispers
"You know they're gonna be there."

Hope fills his eyes with wonder
As he surveys the room
As he greets the first one
As he tears through
The awkwardness
And the doubt
And the tension

Hope squeals with eagerness
And tells the young man that he
Will find his new friends

And when the young man finds
A closed society instead
Hope never lets up
"Just greet the next one,
You know they're gonna be there."

And he surveys the room
And he greets the next one
And he tears through
The awkwardness
And the doubt
And the tension

Hope reassures with kindness
And tells the young man that this time he
Will find his new friends

And when the young man finds
Indifference instead
Hope never lets up
"Just greet the next one,
You know they're gonna be there."

An on and on it goes
Until there are no people left
And the floor is littered with
Empty bottles and cans

And hope never says another word
While he sneaks out the window
Smiling from ear to ear
Leaving the young man alone to answer
The knock at the door

Hope swirls around the husband's head
Lying in the bed beside him
Giddy and laughing

Hope carries him on a magic carpet
Across the gap in the bed to the arms of his wife at ten p.m.
And giggles as he whispers
"You know she's gonna be there."

Hope fills his eyes with wonder
As he surveys her face
As he reaches to touch
As he tears through
The guilt
And the anger
And the apprehension

Hope squeals with eagerness
And tells the husband that he
Will find his comfort and love

And when he finds
Rejection instead
Hope never lets up
"Just reach out again,
You know she's gonna be there."

And he surveys her face
And he reaches to touch
And he tears through
The guilt
And the anger
And the apprehension

Hope reassures with kindness
And tells the husband that this time he
Will find his comfort and love

And when the husband finds
Cruelty instead
Hope never lets up
"Just reach out again,
You know she's gonna be there."

An on and on it goes
Until there are no people left
And the floor is littered with
Years and distant memories

And hope never says another word
While he sneaks out the window
Smiling from ear to ear
Leaving the husband alone to answer
The knock at the door

Hope swirls around the son's head
Walking arm and arm down the cold sanitary corridor
Warm and caring

Hope carries him on angel's wings
Down the hall to the semi-private room
And reassures as he whispers
"You know he's gonna be OK."

Hope fills his eyes with wonder
As he surveys the bed and the wheelchair
As he selects his first words
As he tears through
The jargon
And the reports
And the sadness

Hope squeals with eagerness
And tells the son that he
Will find his father well

And when the son finds
Illness instead
Hope never lets up
"Just come another day,
You know he's gonna be OK."

And he surveys the bed and the wheelchair
And he selects the next one
And he tears through
The jargon
And the reports

Hope reassures with kindness
And tells the son that this time he
Will find his father well

And when the son finds
A stroke instead
Hope never lets up
"Just come one more time,
You know he's gonna be OK."

An on and on it goes
Until there is no life left
And the floor is littered with
Tissues and rubber gloves

And hope never says another word
While he sneaks out the window
Smiling from ear to ear
Leaving the son alone to answer
The knock at the door

And the little boy
And the young man
And the husband
And the son
Go to the door
Looking to see if hope has come back

And pain walks in

And pain doesn't swirl
And pain doesn't giggle
And pain doesn't jump on the bed
And pain doesn't hold his hand
With giddy excitement or warm assurances

Pain just makes his intentions known
And tells them to wake up
There never was a train
And the friends would only let you down
And love is conditional
And your Father is dying

And after making his announcements
Pain doesn't sneak through the window
Grinning from ear to ear
He walks into the kitchen and
Makes a sandwich
And says, "You should get to know me.
I'm gonna be here for a while."

And pain doesn't whisper
And pain doesn't tempt them
To keep looking, and greeting and reaching out
He just sits there eating his sandwich
And asking for a glass of milk
And perhaps a cookie
If it's not too much trouble

And pain doesn't carry them
Anywhere on anything
He just follows them around
Never more than a few paces back

And pain reminds them
That he's gonna be there
When they wake up
And when they go to sleep
And if they want him to leave
They're gonna have to ask him to go
And they better mean it
Because if they don't
He'll be back
And he'll knock on that door
As soon as hope sneaks out
The window

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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