Dum Spiro Spero

This Latin phrase is attributed to the thoughts of Theocritus (an ancient Greek poet, third century BCE) and Cicero (the Greek philosopher and statesman, 106-43 BCE) and means, “while I breathe, I hope.” I discovered the phrase when watching a television program about Trevor Hall, the historic manor house in northeast Wales (it was inscribed on a wall by its owner in 1742).¹

Although popularly used by families and nations across the world (it is the state motto of South Carolina), I adapted this phrase because I find it revelatory of my own attitude toward life. Like so many others, I have experienced great highs and great lows; the one thing that keeps me going is the indomitable hope imbued in humanity.

January 2017

The House I Live In

In my house are many rooms,
and I have lived on every level.
But I don’t live there any more,
because I have climbed beyond them.
In some places the stairs
are steep and narrow and windy
and nearly impossible to climb,
But I have scaled those stairs.

I don’t live on the first floor,
or the second,
or the third,
or even the fourth floor.
I don’t even live in the attic.
I live on the rooftop.
I am a rooftop person.

On the rooftop there is a garden.
And the garden is filled with the
richest, deepest, darkest soil there is.
My seeds were planted long ago.
Every year my plant blooms,
and with each year the blooms are
bigger and stronger than before.
That is where I live,
where the breezes are light and gentle,
and the sunshine is warm,
and the views are spectacular.

I am a rooftop person.

—M.B.H., from a reflection
October 2016

¹The derivation of Dum Spiro Spero and its use at Trevor Hall are easily found on Wikipedia.