Shari Lawrence Pfleeger
“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”
Hope, that thing with feathers, doesn’t stop. Our
deferred dreams may dry like raisins, but hope
makes aspiration and yearning moist. In
the mystical night air, the lopsided
heart, thick clutch of muscle, is mute, silent,
sick and does not call out, “I want, I want.”
But then a stranger’s voice echoes, rising
when close. It is your own tongue. Unlatch from
the hurricane, turn toward your dreams, unlock
desire. Never independent, desire
comes from who you are. who you want to be.
It is on this bridge between starshine and clay,
A tree explodes with fruit every new spring
of life: Come taste what the world has to offer.
*With gratitude to Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Rita Dove, Lucille Clifton and Camille Dungy.
Shari Lawrence Pfleeger’s poems reflect both natural and constructed worlds, often describing interactions with family and friends. Her essays on poetry appear regularly in Blue House Journal, and her poems have been published in District Lines, Thimble Literary, Blue House Journal, Green Light and Paper Dragon, and in four anthologies of Yorkshire poetry. Her prize-winning collection of Yorkshire sonnets was launched in Britain 2021 at the Fourth Ripon Poetry Festival. Shari is on the board of Alice James Books (alicejamesbooks.org), a press committed to producing, promoting, and distributing poetry that engages the public on important social issues. She lives, writes and rides her bicycle in Washington, DC.