Friday, April 1, 2022

The Thing Is


The Thing Is

to face a challenge, face it even
when you have no stomach for it
and you’re sure you don’t have enough
strength, stamina, or skills to conquer it,
you need more than a bird in a storm
or a sunflower in a siege.
Your hope must be a verb
a muscular verb
a rugged superhero verb
with enough strength to
spin the blades in a wind farm
find alternatives for concrete
plant billions of trees
write policies grounded in justice and equity.
Hope is the verb
the creative verb
the innovative verb
with enough durability to
lead us to a sustainable future.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

This poem was inspired by a bumper sticker I saw: "Hope is a verb." That's what I want for this National Poetry Month project -- a strong hope founded in truth about the things we can do and that are being done to help turn around climate change. It's easy enough to become paralyzed by fear for our future. Let's remember that we all have the power to act.

I used The Thing Is by Ellen Bass as my mentor text for this poem.


  1. It's a bold poem, Mary Lee, when boldness is what we need this time in our history. I like that you have included references to our time now, like the "sunflower in a siege" and "spin the blades in a wind farm", all with hope carrying us to success.

  2. I love that line "hope is a verb" and you've created quite a poem from that bumper sticker inspiration. I especially like the idea of hope as a "muscular verb". Great response to multiple challenges.

  3. What a wonderful, hopeful poem. And a perfect word - and reminder - for these troubled times. If we don't live in hope, but also actively WITh hope then we stop moving forward.

  4. As much as I love hope as a verb, I adore "a sunflower in a siege."
    I teach a lot of environmental education workshops, and it's easy to get mired down in the doom and gloom. I appreciate your hopeful take on this topic.