For Grace Boggs, at One Hundred

graceBy Bill Wylie-Kellermann

Hope – a feathered thing?
Less perched than lifting off with raptor wings
spanning a community of roots
in their woven reach for earth

Hope, she says in quotes, is a revolution of values,
one with the arcing bend of this beloved universe,
initiated like a communal intervention:
some 12-step plan against the monkey-backed fuel-fed
addictions of consumer culture, this sweet and sore planet’s woe.
Let others simply live

Hope is resistance, a history of conscience told
against the saving narratives or emergency and disaster management
where do we place our learning when they dismantle education?

Imagine: making hay of industrial demise;
Start with dirt, beneath the nails of a calloused common hand.
Ask what time? What place?

As a discipline to practice,
hope is akin to marriage or friendship
honored unbreakably in the struggle’s long haul:
The political, beloved,
is personal, dear comrade.

Find it in economy as neighborhood
a bartered thing that keeps coming round
this uncommodifiable but still recirculatable gift
passed like eggs, tomatoes, or tamales down the block
hosed like water, one house to the next
radioed like pirate news, ciphers on the wind

Hope is an undocumented Spirit.
She crosses the borderland of empires’ collapse
to another world possible, buried beneath extraction, expulsion
a new city happening, the art of the found, the noticed, the embraced
this cultural economy of gift
our human contradictions notwithstanding
the very dialectics of grace…

2 thoughts on “For Grace Boggs, at One Hundred

  1. Joyce Hollyday

    Thank you, Bill. For so eloquently capturing the power of the Spirit of grace as well as the spirit of Grace. And for inviting us all to hope.

  2. marciaclancy

    Thank you, brother Bill, for this reflection. I pause to consider hope in a new way. Not only as a grace and gift, but as a spiritual discipline, another practice to practice. Hope is not optional. Perhaps it is one of those things I must “act as if,” or “fake it til I make it.” As a hospice nurse, I have spoken with and listened to many people over the years about hope, and yet it remains elusive. A beautiful, small, four-letter word that contains so much meaning.

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