Archives for posts with tag: happiness

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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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“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, author of Poison

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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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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.

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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 collection Late for Work, winner of the Bread Load Writers’ Conference 2005 Bakeless Prize (and published by Houghton Mifflin, 2006), available at Amazon. 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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THE PLUM TREES
by Mary Oliver

Such richness flowing
through the branches of summer and into

the body, carried inward on the five
rivers! Disorder and astonishment

rattle your thoughts and your heart
cries for rest but don’t

succumb, there’s nothing
so sensible as sensual inundation. Joy

is a taste before
it’s anything else, and the body

can lounge for hours devouring
the important moments. Listen,

the only way
to tempt happiness into your mind is by taking it

into the body first, like small
wild plums.

From Mary Oliver‘s collection AMERICAN PRIMITIVE (Back Bay Books, 1983).

Painting: “Plums on the Tree,” watercolor by Lorena Uniac, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW (Excerpt)
by Denis Johnson

Looking out our astounding
clear windows before evening, 
It is almost as if
the world were blue
with some lubricant,
it shines so.

…Read “Looking Out the Window” by Denis Johnson in its entirety at poetryfoundation.org. The poem appears in The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly: Poems Collected and New, Copyright © 1995 by Denis Johnson. Find the book at Amazon.com.

Painting by Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

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We have many reasons to feel grateful and happy. For one thing, we feel honored that people from around the world visit our blog each day. To each of you, I extend my deep appreciation. Today, we learned that we’d surpassed 800 likes — and that, of course, makes us very happy. Thank you to everyone who clicked the like button for one of our posts. We like you, too!

A few weeks ago, I picked up a jar of Felix Lingonberries on the Albertson’s close-out shelf for just 99 cents. (From what I understand a 10-ounce jar usually sells for about $7.00.) When I got home, I put away the jar and forgot about it (that’s what often happens to impulse purchases — even inexpensive ones). A couple of days ago while looking for a coffee filter, I came upon the jar of lingonberries and, lo and behold, noticed the brand name “Felix.” This caught my eye because I’d used a Felix the Cat illustration when talking about our 700 likes a few days ago. At the time, I noted that “Felix means happy.”

Well, what could make someone happier than luscious red jam called Felix? I’ll admit, I have very little idea what a lingonberry even tastes like. I think I had some years ago on pancakes at Ann Sather’s, a well known Swedish restaurant on Chicago’s North Side — but couldn’t remember the flavor. So to familiarize myself before opening the jar, I did a little research and learned that lingonberries are the “cranberries of Sweden” and are found on the forest floor (sounds magical to me!).

The Felix Lingonberries label is quite beautiful and poetic — showing glowing lingonberry orbs and describing the product as, “A wild natural treat from the Swedish forests.” In small print (I needed a magnifying glass) at the bottom of the label, it stated: “Established 1955 by Herbert Felix.” First Felix the Cat and now Herbert Felix! I am now embarking on a search for even more Felixes!

Wishing happy, happy, happy times to all! As Aristotle put it, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” 

Just think, philosophy lessons from feline cartoons and a jar of jam. I feel blessed! And as I open the jar of Felix Lingonberries and take a bite, I share this wild treat with all of you! (I’m breaking the label right now.I’m opening the  jar. I hear the vacuum seal pop. I’m taking off the lid.  I’m dipping in the spoon. I’m taking a bite. Mmm. Tart and delicious. I think I’ll make some toast!)

Photo: Clancy and Felix