Vain Hope

Though it seem strange, I say to you: "Give up
All hope!" Hope is the enemy of life!
It is a cord that strangles and a cup
Filled to the rim with sorrows, care, and strife.
Your dreams, your fantasies: keep these at will;
They are your birth-right and good fortune's seed.
They stir the passions, give you strength to fill
The hours with purpose, spirit, and to feed
On joy begotten of a worthy cause
Pursued or won or waiting in the wings.
But stay well clear of hope, whose needy claws
Pluck out the hearts of paupers and of kings.
To wish and worry is the fatal snare
That turns a lust for life into despair.

George Chadderdon © 1997