HAPPINESS 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).
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.
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.”
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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