Archives for posts with tag: joy

by William Blake

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

Painting: “PEE WEE” 8 x 12″ giclee print from original watercolor painting by Dean Crouser. Buy copies of the print at

Image“The good days, the fat days, page upon page of manuscript; prosperous days, something to say…the pages mounted and I was happy. Fabulous days, the rent paid, still fifty dollars in my wallet, nothing to do all day and night but write and think of writing; ah, such sweet days, to see it grow, to worry for it, myself, my book, my words, maybe important, maybe timeless, but mine nevertheless, the indomitable Arturo Bandini, already deep into his first novel. “

From Chapter Sixteen of Ask the Dust a novel by John Fante, originally published in 1939.

“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


If I keep a green bough in my heart, then the singing bird will come.”


Painting: Vintage Chinese silk painting for sale on Etsy.

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

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


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.”


“Whatever I do is done out of sheer joy; I drop my fruits like a ripe tree. What the general reader or the critic makes of them is not my concern.” HENRY MILLER, American writer (1891-1980)

Painting: Henry Miller portrait, watercolor by Fabrizio Cassetta. Prints available at

by Arra Lynn Ross

A moment of understanding
     when the face lights up
          and even the trees seem to kneel.
The mossy ground
     below a huge willow
          by the side of the marsh.
Children who come
     with white faces
          and turn pink
               in the sun.
The sound of sawing in the woods
          and the long lone hum
               of a boat bearing lumber
                    down the Hudson.
The sudden deer in the trees,
          a streak of white tail
               and the hoof prints
                    filling with water.
The sound of voices
          rounding out with grace,
               with trust.
                    And rosehip tea steaming in the sun.
How many times we threw off our shoes
          and danced together,
               the cool ground under our soles.
                    And the mud! churned by feet, and horses,
                       ox-carts and cows.
          The open throats
               and closed eyes,
                    that red ringing
                         inside my heart.
And mornings that Lucy sang
     making breakfast,
          snatches of hymns
               stuck together.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Arra Lynn Ross grew up on a communal farm in Minnesota and attended Macalester College in Saint Paul, where she earned her BA in English. She completed her PhD in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and currently teaches creative writing at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. Her work has appeared in Spoon River Poetry ReviewHayden’s FerryBeloit Poetry Journal, and Alimentum. Ross’s poems have also been featured on Verse Daily and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day. “Mother Ann Tells Lucy What Gave Her Joy” appears in her collection Seedlip and Sweet Apple (Milkweed Editions, 2010), available at or at Milkweed Editions.

Illustration: “The Willow Weeps,” digitally painted photo by Bonnie Bruno, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

by Chris Forhan

It seized me—never mind the circumstance: sudden
scent in the breeze like cinnamon, sun silvering
a roof as the unicycle parade began—it seized me
as sickness does, wholly, with no mercy,
all of my body obeisant to its law as though none of it
were mine, finally: not the joy or the body.

SOURCE: ”Joy” appears in the Silver Birch Press release Ransack and Dance, a collection of poems by Chris Forhan, available at

by Joseph Campbell

Follow your bliss.
If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.

IMAGE: Portrait of Joseph Campbell by Robert Wolverton, Jr. Prints available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph  Campbell (1904–1987) was an American mythologist, writer, and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: “Follow your bliss.” (Read more at

by Julie Cadwallader-Staub

Who could need more proof than honey–
How the bees with such skill and purpose

enter flower after flower

sing their way home

to create and cap the new honey 

just to get through the flowerless winter.

And how the bear with intention and cunning

raids the hive

shovels pawful after pawful into his happy mouth

bats away indignant bees

stumbles off in a stupor of satiation and stickiness.

And how we humans can’t resist its viscosity

its taste of clover and wind

its metaphorical power:

don’t we yearn for a land of milk and honey?

don’t we call our loved ones “honey?”

all because bees just do, over and over again, what they were made to do.

Oh, who could need more proof than honey

to know that our world 

was meant to be


was meant to be 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Julie Cadawallader-Staub lives near Burlington, Vermont. Her poems have been published in numerous journals and featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. Her first collection of poems, Face to Face, was published in 2010. “Joy” and” Guinea Pig,” which Garrison Keillor read on The Writer’s Almanac, are in this collection, in addition to sixty other poems. Julie’s poemReverence has been anthologized in Garrison Keillor’s book Good Poems: American Places. Her poetry also appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology. Visit her at