Archives for posts with tag: happiness

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“We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.” E.B. WHITE, Author of Charlotte’s Web

PHOTO: “Harpo Hiding” by Bridget Zinn, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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LAUGHING SONG
by William Blake

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha, ha he!”

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, ha, he!”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. For the most part unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered one of the greatest poets of all time in any language. As a visual artist, he has been lauded by one art critic as “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced.” (Source: Wikipedia)

PHOTO: Zsaj, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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AT TWENTY-EIGHT
by Amy Fleury

It seems I get by on more luck than sense,
not the kind brought on by knuckle to wood,
breath on dice, or pennies found in the mud.
I shimmy and slip by on pure fool chance.
At turns charmed and cursed, a girl knows romance
as coffee, red wine, and books; solitude
she counts as daylight virtue and muted
evenings, the inventory of absence.
But this is no sorry spinster story,
just the way days string together a life.
Sometimes I eat soup right out of the pan.
Sometimes I don’t care if I will marry.
I dance in my kitchen on Friday nights,
singing like only a lucky girl can.

SOURCE: “At Twenty-Eight” appears in Amy Fleury’s collection Beautiful Trouble (Southern Illinois University Press, 2004), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Dance to Meet the Morning” by Gun Legler. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Fleury is the author of Sympathetic Magic (Southern Illinois University Press, 2013). Her poetry has been published in former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s column, “American Life in Poetry.”

 

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DETECTIVE STORY
by W.H. Auden

For who is ever quite without his landscape,
The straggling village street, the house in trees,
All near the church, or else the gloomy town house,
The one with the Corinthian pillars, or
The tiny workmanlike flat: in any case
A home, the centre where the three or four things
that happen to a man do happen? Yes,
Who cannot draw the map of his life, shade in
The little station where he meets his loves
And says good-bye continually, and mark the spot
Where the body of his happiness was first discovered?
An unknown tramp? A rich man? An enigma always
And with a buried past but when the truth,
The truth about our happiness comes out
How much it owed to blackmail and philandering.
The rest’s traditional. All goes to plan:
The feud between the local common sense
And that exasperating brilliant intuition
That’s always on the spot by chance before us;
All goes to plan, both lying and confession,
Down to the thrilling final chase, the kill.
Yet on the last page just a lingering doubt:
That verdict, was it just? The judge’s nerves,
That clue, that protestation from the gallows,
And our own smile . . . why yes . . .
But time is always killed. Someone must pay for
Our loss of happiness, our happiness itself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wystan Hugh Auden (1907–1973), who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature. (Read more at wikipedia.org.)

Illustration: From L.A. Noire video game, available at Amazon.com.

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DETECTIVE STORY
after Jane Kenyon’s “Happiness”
by David Tucker

Happiness is a stubborn old detective who won’t give up on us
though we have been missing a long, long time,
who stops in towns where we once lived and asks about us
in a grocery where we shopped ten years ago, who visits
the drugstore in the city where it always rained and walks
the hallways of that house by the river, leafing through
the newspaper left on the table, noting the date.
When the search party has called it off, when the dogs
have been put up and our names stuffed in cabinets
at the back of the station house, happiness is still out there,
staring up at a road sign in a distant town,
studying a map by cigarette, weeks away, then days.
A breeze smelling of the river enters the room though
no river is near; the house is quiet and calm for no reason;
the search does end, the detective does finally sleep, far away
from anything he imagined, his dusty shoes still on. 

“Detective Story” appears in David Tucker‘s  collection Late for Work, winner of the Bread Load Writers’ Conference 2005 Bakeless Prize (and published by Houghton Mifflin, 2006), available at Amazon. com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Journalist and poet David Tucker grew up in Tennessee. He earned a BA at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he studied with poet Donald Hall. Booklist critic Donna Seamanhas described his poems as “deceptive in their sturdy plainness . . . inlaid with patterns as elegant as the swoop of swallows, and images as startling and right as a cat’s bowl of milk shimmering as its ‘moon god.’” His debut collection, Late for Work (2006), was awarded the Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize by judge Philip LevineDonald Hall, a former US poet laureate, appointed Tucker a Witter Bynner Foundation Fellow in 2007. A newspaper editor for more than 25 years, Tucker is an editor for the Metro section of the Newark Star-Ledger newspaper, where he was part of the team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting. (Source: poetryfoundation.org)

Illustration: “Film Noir Detective” by igrayne01 (via deviantart.com)

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EINSTEIN’S HAPPIEST MOMENT
by Richard M. Berlin 

Einstein’s happiest moment
occurred when he realized
a falling man falling
beside a falling apple
could also be described
as an apple and a man at rest
while the world falls around them.

And my happiest moment
occurred when I realized
you were falling for me,
right down to the core, and the rest,
relatively speaking, has flown past
faster than the speed of light.
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“Einstein’s Happiest Moment” appears in Richard M. Berlin’s collection Secret Wounds (BkMk Press, 2011), available at Amazon.com.

berlin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard M. Berlin received his undergraduate and medical education at Northwestern University. The winner of numerous poetry awards, his first collection of poems How JFK Killed My Father (Pearl Editions, 2003) won the Pearl Poetry Prize. He is also the author of two poetry chapbooks, Code Blue and The Prophecy. Berlin’s poetry has appeared widely in anthologies and such journals as NimrodJAMA, and The Lancet. His column “Poetry of the Times” has appeared for more than ten years in Psychiatric Times. He has established the Gerald Berlin Creative Writing Prize (named for his father) for medical students, nursing students, and resident physicians at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where the author is a senior affiliate of psychiatry. He has published more than sixty scientific papers and has edited Sleep Disorders in Psychiatric Practice and Poets on Prozac: Mental Illness, Treatment, and the Creative Process. He practices psychiatry in a small town in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts. Visit him at richardmberlin.com.

Painting: “The Son of Man” by René Magritte (1964).

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When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” JOHN LENNON

Art: Jef Aérosol

Photo: Bixentro

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Happy is so momentary — you’re happy for an instant and then you start thinking again. Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.”  

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE, American Artist (1887-1986)

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DETECTIVE STORY
after Jane Kenyon’s “Happiness”
by David Tucker

Happiness is a stubborn old detective who won’t give up on us
though we have been missing a long, long time,
who stops in towns where we once lived and asks about us
in a grocery where we shopped ten years ago, who visits
the drugstore in the city where it always rained and walks
the hallways of that house by the river, leafing through
the newspaper left on the table, noting the date.
When the search party has called it off, when the dogs
have been put up and our names stuffed in cabinets
at the back of the station house, happiness is still out there,
staring up at a road sign in a distant town,
studying a map by cigarette, weeks away, then days.
A breeze smelling of the river enters the room though
no river is near; the house is quiet and calm for no reason;
the search does end, the detective does finally sleep, far away
from anything he imagined, his dusty shoes still on. 

“Detective Story” appears in David Tucker‘s wondrous collectionLate for Work, winner of the Bread Load Writers’ Conference 2005 Bakeless Prize (and published by Houghton Mifflin, 2006), available atAmazon. com, where copies are available for just one (1) cent, plus shipping. If you love poetry or aspire to write it, Late for Work by David Tucker is a must-have, must-read book! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Journalist and poet David Tucker grew up in Tennessee. He earned a BA at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he studied with poet Donald Hall. Booklist critic Donna Seamanhas described his poems as “deceptive in their sturdy plainness . . . inlaid with patterns as elegant as the swoop of swallows, and images as startling and right as a cat’s bowl of milk shimmering as its ‘moon god.’” His debut collection, Late for Work (2006), was awarded the Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize by judge Philip LevineDonald Hall, a former US poet laureate, appointed Tucker a Witter Bynner Foundation Fellow in 2007. A newspaper editor for more than 25 years, Tucker is an editor for the Metro section of the Newark Star-Ledger newspaper, where he was part of the team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting. (Source: poetryfoundation.org)

Illustration: “Film Noir Detective” by igrayne01 (via deviantart.com)

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HAPPINESS
by Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
 
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.
 
No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.
 
It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
                     It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

“Happiness” appears in Otherwise: New and Selected Poems by Jane Kenyon (Graywolf Press, 1995), available at Amazon.com, where hardcover copies of the 230-page book are available for just one (1) cent plus shipping.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Kenyon earned a BA from the University of Michigan in 1970 and an MA in 1972. That same year, Kenyon married the poet Donald Hall, and moved to Eagle Pond Farm in New Hampshire. Kenyon’s published books of poetry include Constance (1993), Let Evening Come (1990), The Boat of Quiet Hours (1986), and From Room to Room (1978). In December 1993, she and Donald Hall were the subject of an Emmy Award-winning Bill Moyers documentary, “A Life Together.” At the time of her death from leukemia, in April 1995, Jane Kenyon was New Hampshire’s poet laureate.

Illustration: “Female Noir” by noirnation.com.