Happiness floats.

As I drove away from the Office Max parking lot yesterday afternoon, “Scheherazade” was playing on the radio, and I crossed myself in a prayer, and immediately wondered why I did that. Why was I suddenly so full of joy and peace that I had to acknowledge the Holy Trinity and the fact that I was in His presence? It was a response to the beauty of the music, and a praise to the Creator of humans in His image, who are empowered to become co-creators after Him. But it was also a gift, unexplainable, this gladness to be alive. It is something to accept, and a place to live in, for however many moments I can keep it.

I have been reading a lot of poems lately. I want to say I’ve browsed through volumes large and small, collections by various poets….but I think a different word would be more honest, something like rummaged or skipped, or plowed. It doesn’t seem very respectful of the poets’ work, or quite civilized — until I find a poem to sink into, and then I am calmed and fed.

This morning I am sitting in the garden, listening to the fountain gurgle nearby. Also to the vague rock music coming through the walls of one neighbor’s house, and a saw sound buzzing over from another neighbor. After I finished breakfast I copied a couple of poems by Naomi Shihab Nye into my notebook, but this one I wanted to put up here instead, as it reminded me of that wonderful minute that I was given yesterday.

So Much Happiness

for Michael

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…..

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

-Naomi Shihab Nye

13 thoughts on “Happiness floats.

  1. Beautiful. Do you know Jane Kenyon’s poems? I think Donald Hall has a poem about happiness as well, … (they were married to each other)… I think Jane has one on happiness and Donald on children/grandchildren giving happiness…

    Like

  2. My first response is to the poem you shared – Wow. what a wonderful description of something indescribable. And then also for your own description in prose of your moment – how true it is that beauty can cause such a reaction in us, that is beyond cause and effect and uncontained. Thank you for your writing.

    Like

  3. What lovely poetic images you call forth with the contrast of the retail world -driving infused with Scheherazade music – You – and the Trinity…

    The poems you find in books are lovely too.

    Like

  4. I love your descriptions of what you saw and what you heard. I could see in my mind so well the things you were doing. I love that you read poetry and then you share what touches you. I am glad you are enjoying your garden so much. I also love that you pay attention to the small things that are around you, in a normal day, that makes it an offering.

    Like

  5. I liked this. Especially the lines, “Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
    and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
    cannot make you unhappy.” 🙂

    Like

  6. A very perceptive poem, Gretchen Joanna, about the state of happiness. Sadly, it seems that happiness is felt less than sadness, and so when one does experience it, as you did the other day, one tries to savour the moment, mentally recording it, perhaps to remember it for the future, so as to experience it again, albeit in memory.

    Happy 4th, tomorrow!

    Poppy

    Like

  7. I pulled down a copy of Thomas Hardy’s poems just yesterday. I like “rummaging” in poetry, as you say. Sometimes my brain isn’t engaged enough to read it well, but sometimes it is … it’s receptive. I enjoy that you share so much poetry with us!

    Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s