by Theodore Henry Shackelford

O Hope! into my darkened life
     Thou hast so oft’ descended;
My helpless head from failure’s blows,
     Thou also hast defended;
When circumstances hard and mean,
     Which I could not control,
Did make me bow my head with shame, 
     Thou comforted my soul.

When stumbling blocks lay all around,
     And my steps did falter,
Then did thy sacred fires burn
     Upon my soul’s high altar.
Oft’ was my very blackened night
     Scarce darker than my day,
But thou dispelled thus  clouds of doubt,
     And cheered my lonely way.

Even when I saw my friend’s forsake,
     And leave me for another,
Then thou, O Hope, didst cling to me
     Still closer than a brother;
Thus with thee near I groped my way
     Through that long, gloomy night
Till now; yes, as I speak behold, 
     I see the light! the light!

“Hope” originally appeared in My Country and Other Poems
(Press of I.W. Klopp Co., 1918) Theodore Henry Shackelford 
is the author of Mammy’s Cacklin’ Bread and Other Poems
and My Country and Other Poems.

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