Sunday, March 25, 2012

Poetry may be the best church of all

Watching the rain pouring from the street down through the cracks in the trainyard on Friday I felt delighted and buoyant and eager and it took me several minutes before I could locate a name for the unexpected feeling: happiness. The thought that followed--that it has, I think, been some time since I have felt such happiness (and that I am surprised to have not recognized it)--didn't diminish that happiness in the least. I was pleased to feel so happy. 

And the thought occurred to me that perhaps I can develop a taste for happiness; acquire a knack for happiness. If I can learn to savor the taste of beer or of chevre or of olives, then perhaps I can also learn to love the taste of happiness, "like small wild plums":

The Plum Trees
by Mary Oliver

Such richness flowing
through the branches of summer and into

the body, carried inward on the five
rivers! Disorder and astonishment

rattle your thoughts and your heart
cries for rest but don’t

succumb, there’s nothing
so sensible as sensual inundation. Joy

is a taste before
it’s anything else, and the body

can lounge for hours devouring
the important moments. Listen,

the only way
to tempt happiness into your mind is by taking it

into the body first, like small
wild plums.

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