a pitch for “Happiness” by Stuart A. Paterson

“Moonlight Camping” by Deidre Lynn (Brush and Bramble Art).
by Stuart A. Paterson

I’ve made my own Museum of
Happiness, which isn’t built of brick
or stone or wood, its walls the thickness
of the day, a flapping tongue of canvass
held in place by rope & peg to stop
it flying off & joyously away
up into everywhere in time & space.

I’ll carry it around with me to pitch
beside the sea, in a field or by
that river, a billowing rickety marquee,
a travelling show of personal delights
performing one night only & forever.

What sights! What wonders! See those things unseen
except in meanwhiles, vivid dreams,
smile, laugh & gasp & live a lifetime
somewhere in between the daily grind
of minutes into hours, be amazed
by happiness’s alchemy
transmogrifying days of certainty
to joyous, raucous aeons of impossibility.

Step right up, pay nothing, be called in
to watch the carnival of you begin,
the show to beat all shows where nothing’s
out of bounds & every good thing goes
around & comes around again, not down
or out & you’re the hottest act in town,
the permanently top display, the troupe
of you booked solid every single smiling day.

~ written for Personal Best (October 2017).

“Juggler” by Dayle Bolton.


“Camping Under a Striped Tent” by Andrea Doss

This poem had me smiling from beginning to end. Sheer delight!

I reveled in Paterson’s choice words, his artful turn of phrase, and his brilliant use of extended metaphor.

Tents are portable; they can be set up just about anywhere. Never a burden, they allow us to travel lightly through life (don’t you love “its walls the thickness of the day”?). We carry our personal museums of happiness with us wherever we go. 

“Camping in the Woods” by Joanna Karpowicz.

The notion that happiness lies within, that it’s something we can all cultivate, is certainly not new, and while I appreciate the reminder, sometimes this message can be cloaked in cliché. Not so with Paterson’s poem. An invitation to “step right up” to watch “the carnival of you begin” takes care of that. Every performance is as unique as the individual; there is no sameness or predictability, not when you’re dealing with “raucous aeons of impossibility.”

“Camping Cat” by Sara Pulver.

Stuart A. Paterson wrote “Happiness” for Personal Best (a Health and Fitness podcast), when he was BBC Scotland Poet in Residence (2017-18). He has a proven track record of initiating and encouraging engagement in creative writing in many sectors of the community – primary and secondary schools, libraries, progressing writers, mental health and wellbeing, the elderly and in the area of Scots language. He has received many awards for his poetry, including Scots Poet of the Year 2020.

I’d love to stay and juggle a few more words, but I must run (this happens when you’re the hottest act in town).


What does your Museum of Happiness look like?


The lovely and talented Heidi Mordhorst is hosting the Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe. Tap dance on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up around the blogosphere this week. Have a great weekend!

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