Hopeless Tasks

Side of domestic building with diagonal fence and crooked street sign in foreground

by Roger Camp

Hopeless Tasks

Joseph Hardy


done and redone: making a bed, dusting
when more dust will settle;

growing up, I was taught to avoid them, to live
in a kind of gray despair.

I taught myself then, If, it doesn’t last, it’s worthless,
thinking that a way out—make something last

somehow missing even our sun will fail in time,
huge energies all used, go dark.

Now, as I do them, those tasks feel prayers;
pretty much all I do a prayer— 

to offer my intent as wish, as request:
a clean room in which to sit, clean windows

to look out into the day,
clean sheets on which to sleep.




Joseph Hardy, a reformed human resource consultant, lives with his wife in Nashville, Tennessee. His work has been published in: Appalachian Review, Cold Mountain Review, Inlandia, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore among others. He is the author of a book of poetry, The Only Light Coming In, Bambaz Press Los Angeles, 2020.


Roger Camp is the author of three photography books including the award winning Butterflies in Flight, Thames & Hudson, 2002 and Heat, Charta, Milano, 2008. His documentary photography has been awarded the prestigious Leica Medal of Photography. His photographs are represented by the Robin Rice Gallery, NYC.