A Poem from 5th Grade

This poem is entitled Hope, and was written by Mary O’Neil.  It was in our language arts reading book in 5th grade. I’m pulling it out of memory, so the stanzas may not be perfect.  4 of us memorized it and recited it in sections after the morning announcements one day.  I remember the 4th grade reader was entitled “A Lizard to Start With”…and no one ever batted an eye at the dangling preposition…which had the poem “Ladies and Jellyspoons”.


Hope is a climber, a brimming cup
The elevator that only goes up —
A chair lift over the drop, swinging you to the mountain top
Sunlight at the tunnel’s end
Broken spirit on the mend

Hope is the stretch you make to reach the branch that holds the perfect peach
Hope is a bird learning to fly, wobbling after many a try,
Then taking off to the giddy high
Windy blue silk summer sky

Hope is the strain beyond your strength
That adds an inch to your inward length
Hope is the moment when you jump
Up from the tumble, out of the slump

Hope is the light in the awful dark
The clear, bright-blazing, beckoning spark
That sets your feet to a runnig pace
For one little look at Her beautiful face


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