Poem: Happiness

–Michael Van Walleghen

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

     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?

     as if to please me,
he has torn apart
     and scattered
     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
     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—

with news of the Resurrection,
I give him a biscuit

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

     what you can get,
that’s his motto…

     And really,
apropos of bliss,
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,
     as I turn away
     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 Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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