Poetry: Happiness

Happi­ness
–Jane Kenyon
From Oth­er­wise New & Select­ed Poems

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 bas­ket maker,
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.

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