Happiness

Senden, Venner MoorIf, like Gert, you’ve been out of your usual whirl of cocktail parties, media appearances and clamourings for your advice on all sorts of subjects, you may appreciate this poem Happiness, which popped into our mailbox courtesy of the Paris Review’s Daily Poem service:

The mouse is golden,
and so is the turtle, and the spider,
and even the centipede,
and the pebble with which you try
to get rid of it
without leaving your seat,
from which one can observe many other
things and golden beings.

by Aleksandar Ristovic—translated from the Serbian by Charles Simic

 

Image:  By Dietmar Rabich, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54338698

20 thoughts on “Happiness

  1. A poem for the times, Gert. Are you practising yoga at home? I assume you are, since your classes must have been cancelled, along with my gym classes. I’m finding it harder to exercise at home than I thought it would be. Perhaps I should try sitting in a chair and throwing pebbles at imaginary centipedes…

    1. Good to hear from you, Dorothy, I was just thinking of you the other day. Yes, doing yoga at home – Tim is setting up online classes soon, and French is going to Zoom next term. I have a good little home exercise program that only takes 7 minutes that I’ll email you.

  2. Going out walking on the trails every day (still allowed here), but not seeing any centipedes or turtles or spiders in the snow. Definitely a poem for the times. Thanks, Gert!

      1. I think that families are allowed to go out together. This evening (low 30s F so still quite chilly, but with a good sun), we saw a group of older women at a park — they had brought folding chairs and all sorts of blankets and wrapped themselves up for a chat. They were at least six feet apart, but I think that wasn’t exactly what was meant. Jim is fond of quoting an unnamed rabbi as saying, “God is always happy when you find a loophole,” which would apply to any number of situations we are seeing (here is a link to a discussion of the concept, which is apparently a common understanding: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-deliberately-flawed-divine-torah/).

        1. Hmm. Not convinced. Reminds me of the nun who taught us French who used to say, whenever she made a mistake, that she’d done it deliberately to see if we’d pick it up.

  3. Lovely. It’s comforting that nature appears to be carrying on regardless, while the rest of us are in lockdown, anxiously waiting to see what happens next.

  4. Thanks, Gert, for the exercise program. The gold in the ‘Happiness’ poem reminds me of some lines by Luke Davies, which I say to myself from time to time. I can’t recall the poem’s title, but the lines are:

    For the sun is everywhere
    and the air is filled with pollen,
    and all the bees weighed down with light
    are golden where the leaves have fallen.

    I love the idea of bees weighed down with light.

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