In this installment, Steve Orlen reads “The Instinct of Hope” by John Clare. Orlen is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, including Permission to Speak (1978), A Place at the Table (1981), The Bridge of Sighs (1992), Kisses (1997), and This Particular Eternity (2001). His work had been honored with awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He teaches at the University of Arizona and in the low-residency MFA at Warren Wilson College.
John Clare, "The Instinct of Hope"
Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
'Tis nature's prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E'en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?