Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Absurd Hope

"My own absurd, hesitant presumption is hope."

Peter Karoff, The World We Want

Used books hold many secrets -- names, receipts, notes, and underlinings. Many of these scratchings are incomprehensible or unknowable. Making notes in books is sometimes more an act of punctuation than a tool for rememberance or a monument for insight.

I found this line in the poem, Conscience,in the opening pages of Karoff's book, with a line and arrow heading off to the right of the page, ending in a question mark. Why the question mark, I wondered Is admitting the fragility of hope a bad thing?

A colleague of mine wrote me a note about my book Nonprofit Leadership a few months ago. He said it had an undercurrent of pessemism about the potential for change. I was surprised, at first, because my goal in writing the book was to make make an argument for hope and engagement. Maybe he didn't read the last chapter, or maybe my unconscious pessemism about the possibility of real change won the day.

I suspect that's why this underlining of poetry caught my eye. That's what I feel about Obama's victory and inaugauation -- "an absurd, hesitant...hope."

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