Poem: Happiness

Happi­ness
–Michael Van Walleghen

Weep for what lit­tle things could make them glad.
–Robert Frost, Direc­tive

Melvin,
     the large collie
who lives in the red house
at the end of my dai­ly run
is happy,
     hap­py to see me
even now,
     in February—
a month of low skies
and slow­ly melt­ing snow.

His yard
     has turned almost
entire­ly to mud—
     but so what?

Today,
     as if to please me,
he has torn apart
     and scattered
everywhere
     a yel­low plas­tic bucket
the col­or of forsythia
or daffodils…

     And now,
in a transport
     of cross-eyed
mud­dy ecstasy,
     he has placed
his filthy two front paws
together
     on the top pipe
of his sag­ging cyclone fence—

drool­ing a little,
     his tail
wag­ging furiously,
     until finally,
as if I were God’s angel himself—

ful­gent,
     blinding,
     aflame
with news of the Resurrection,
I give him a biscuit
     instead.

Which is fine with Melvin—
who is wise,
     by whole epochs
of evolution,
     beyond his years.

Take
     what you can get,
that’s his motto…

     And really,
apro­pos of bliss,
     happiness
and the true rapture,
     what saint
could tell us half as much?

Even as he drops
     back down
into the cold
     dog-shit muck
he’ll have to live in
     every day
for weeks on end perhaps
unless it freezes…

whin­ing now,
     dancing
nervously
     as I turn away
again,
     to leave him there

the same today
     as yesterday—

one of the tru­ly wretched
of this earth
     whose happiness
is almost more
     than I can bear.

From In the Black Win­dow: New and Select­ed Poems. © Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois Press.

Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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