If hope springs eternal, where does it come from?

The Love Column has prompted some friends to ask for other topics. A poet-friend who claims he has not fallen in love has asked that I write about hope.

IF one is to draw a line to show where the act of hoping happens, one should do a straight line. One hopes for something to come, for that which is coming. Out there is hope, out there in that horizon.

When one thinks, one touches the brow. And when one feels, there is the heart to bother with the strongest touch of the heart. The corporeal supports the most ephemeral of thoughts,  the most abstract of longings. Hope is not blessed with a bodily part to link it.

There are no senses to support our act of hoping. We cannot hear hope; we cannot touch it even. There is no sound of hope as in the beating of heart for that which touches our desire.


Languages fill the domain for hope. We often hear people say how one’s hopes have been dashed. Hope is unseen and yet, it can be shattered. When that happens, does hope

Hope belongs to each of us and each of us shall have the manner to dispense it or ruin it. But one hope dashed does not render hope lost. We can be hopeless but that hopelessness is to an instance, a moment. From that straight line can come again that which we hope for.

Hoping is not wishing. When one wishes, one needs an object, an element to bear the wish or wishes. The wish can be on a star. We can wish by throwing coins or petals into a well. We can throw our despair and sadness into a pit and wish them to disappear.

When our loved ones die, we hope to see them again. We may question what our faith attempts to teach us about life after life, but hope assures us the reunion somewhere, on lands that are not even marked by boundaries.  Border and markers are made by humans. Hope out there is not human. It becomes limited only when it is received by humans. When something that we hope for thus, we do not even know or feel it has already arrived from that horizon upon which we locate hoping.

It is easier to grieve because we can look down on the grave or look at the ground. It is even much easier to be happy because we can look up and invent the heavens as if the clouds, the vanishing but real skies, can witness us below.

In Tagalog, hope is pag-asa.  The same name has been given to the organization that predicts for us path of winds, storms and typhoons. As citizens of this island-republic, we know we are hopeless when it comes to weather forecasting. The name therefore is a combination of an act of faith and hope that, somehow, we can survive that we do not hope for. The Tagalogs can be heard also saying—may bagong pag-asa, as if hope can be replenished.

In the Island of Ticao, hope is paglaum. For some reason, I only learned the poetry of the word through its negative use. Ayaw pagpalaum is commonly uttered when one makes a vow or promise. The worst a Tigaonon (the name given to those living in the island) can is to be pinalaum, one who has been promised something and thus hoped for it. The person who had hoped is not to be pitied. He is not even an object of pathos. He is the noble party because he has placed his belief in the promise. To hope is to trust in this island or in the bigger peninsula and archipelago. The criminal is the one who has planted the hope in the other.

If hope springs eternal, where does it come from? It comes from the possibilities that could go on forever. We love and then hate. The love vanishes but we hope it comes back, in whatever form and persuasion. We hate and pray that we change that to desiring. We die and, believe me, we hope, in the dark recesses of our disbelief, that we live again.

Hope, Kristian, is a sleight of hand, a trick that wonderfully produces lights and truths, and sometimes, the loveliest of lies.


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Image Credits: Jimbo Albano

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