In a darkness deeper than night
Bursting through all grief and shadows of doubt
There comes a piercing, blinding light
But so small you’d think you’re without
What comes to aid you in times of need
It holds up as long as you believe
It starts as a tiny, little seed
And it’s up to you whether or not it you receive
Keep it in mind whenever you are away
It will help you to keep going
Until the end of the day
As you help it keep growing
And as long as you don’t mope
You’ll always have plenty of hope.
April 18, 1986
I was 15 and a freshman in high school when I wrote this poem. I had been writing poems for at least a year before I wrote this one, but I never thought any of them were good. My English teacher, Mrs. Fowler, told the class we could get extra credit on our Romeo & Juliet projects if we wrote a Shakespearean-style sonnet and turned it in with the project.
Being a grade-obsessed student, I wrote this poem because I was sure I’d need the extra credit to bring my project up to an A. To my surprise, not only did I make a 100 on my project, but Mrs. Fowler gave me the full 10 points of extra credit for writing this poem. She was a very kind teacher.
This was the first time I’d received feedback on any of my poems, and it made me realize I’d finally written a good poem. I wrote “Hope” into a blank book, and started recording all my poems into that book… until I filled it and had to start another blank book. I will always be fond of this poem, and grateful for Mrs. Fowler’s feedback on it. So I always like to say my writing career started with “Hope.”