Our Lady of Tenacious Hope


During war and winter, can hope shine through?




This poem arose during the bone-chilling days of the New England winter, just as the “dogs of war” were beginning to gather in Ukraine. My wife and I found unexpected comfort in coming to the aid of a tiny but intrepid visitor; and I found solace, as I often do, in putting pen to paper. In a world seemingly coming apart, I was reminded of Robert Frost’s description of poetry as, “a momentary stay against confusion.”1

A half-foot

of deep-caked snow

still on the driveway,

and late winter’s blank stare

through our darkening window.

Suddenly, a lone ladybug

flaunts her colors

on the pane.


being a sure thing,

it seems pointless

to do what we do:

lure our lady

with a drop of honey

and place her

in a blossom

on our red-blooming



isn’t hers to keep,

nor ours;

but we have made

our rejoinder

to bleak winter.

Dr Pies is professor emeritus of psychiatry and lecturer on bioethics and humanities, SUNY Upstate Medical University; clinical professor of psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine; and editor in chief emeritus of Psychiatric TimesTM (2007-2010).


1. Quotes, Robert Frost. Accessed March 2, 2022. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/98513-the-figure-a-poem-makes-no-one-can-really-hold

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