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Joy Train: poem and photos by Patricia Hope

Photo: close-up of a reddish-orange leaf on the ground, a hole torn out of it, photo by the author, Patricia Hope.

"Broken Leaf" photo by Patricia Hope




It can trundle down your street like a ghost train,

noiseless, effortless, unknown until you hear

that song you love, see a mockingbird perched          

on the holly bush, glimpse a November sunset,

or watch a neighbor’s eyes light up because

you were kind. It can drift from the sky in a December

snowfall to land on your upturned face.                              

You can hear it in the first four notes of Beethoven’s 5th

Symphony: dah, dah, dah, Dum. dah, dah, dah, Dum.

It can come softly, quietly like a golden maple leaf

floating to the ground or that earliest warm day

in the year when you know spring has arrived.               

It’s that unexpected moment that slips in on a child’s

hug, a lover’s kiss, a friend’s voice. You can sometimes

find it in an old family photo when a memory rolls

in front of you just like it was yesterday. You can’t buy it

or sell it. But you can be open to it.

It can chug in on a gloomy day and help you understand      

that the next day, the next hour, the next minute

are all worth getting on board for because who knows what joys

                                                        are yet to be found.


Photo: wooden cross, with trees and shrubs nearby, behind a red brick curb, with yellow daffodils at its base, photo by the author, Patricia Hope.

"First Daffodils" photo by Patricia Hope


Photo of a grey squirrel on a lichen-covered branch, clutching and starting to eat its prized yellow pear, background of blurred green and yellow leaves, photo by the author Patricia Hope.

"Squirrel with Pear" photo by Patricia Hope


Patricia Hope’s award-winning writing has appeared in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Guideposts’ Blessings in Disguise, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Southern Writers, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Agape Review, Pigeon Parade Quarterly, The Mildred Haun Review, Blue Ridge Country, The Gargoylicon, Upper Room, Home Life, The Tennessee Conservationist, and many newspapers, magazines, and anthologies. She has edited two poetry anthologies and published two novels, including Lonely Way Back Home (2017). Her photos have appeared in Living Lutheran, The Avocet, The Notebook, Mature Living, Southern Writers, Liquid Imagination, The Tennessee Conservationist and numerous other publications. Patricia lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

March 2024 issue

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1 Comment

Mar 30

Uplifting poem! And I like the photographs.

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