“Tomorrow’s Child” by Rubin Alves

I found the following poem by Rubin Alves in  a collection titled “Teaching With Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach,” edited by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner.  This poem did what all poets hope will occur: It struck a cord deep within my soul. It reached a part of me I thought had died. I love the line “Suffering without hope produces resentment and despair.” Also, “We must live by the love of what we will never see. That is the secret discipline.”

What is hope?
It is the pre-sentiment that imagination
is more real and reality is less real than it looks.
It is the bunch that the overwhelming brutality
of facts that oppress and repress us
is not the last word.
It is the suspicion that reality is more complex
than the realists want us to believe.
That the frontiers of the possible are not
determined by the limits of the actual;
and in a miraculous and unexplained way
life is opening up creative events
which will open the way to freedom and resurrection,
but the two – suffering and hope –
must live from each other.
Suffering without hope produces resentment and despair.
But, hope without suffering creates illusions, naivete
and drunkenness.
So let us plant dates
even though we who plant them will never eat them.
We must live by the love of what we will never see.
That is the secret discipline.
It is the refusal to let our creative act
be dissolved away by our need for immediate sense experience
and it a struggled commitment to the future of our grandchildren.
Such disciplined hope is what has given prophets, revolutionaries and saints,
the courage to die for the future they envisage.
They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hopes.

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