The Happiest Day

The Happiest Day August 4, 2014




Today I just want to share a poem that struck me because it reminded me of my life, of all the things I want to remember and get right. Of how I want to grab on to these moments and wring every precious morsel of joy from them before they float away like a let-go balloon. After all, in my more lucid moments, I realize that these are the “good old days” that someday I’ll remember fondly. They really are.

The Happiest Day

Linda Pastan

It was early May, I think

a moment of lilac or dogwood

when so many promises are made

it hardly matters if a few are broken.

My mother and father still hovered

in the background, part of the scenery

like the houses I had grown up in,

and if they would be torn down later

that was something I knew

but didn’t believe. Our children were asleep

or playing, the youngest as new

as the new smell of the lilacs,

and how could I have guessed

their roots were shallow

and would be easily transplanted.

I didn’t even guess that I was happy.

The small irritations that are like salt

on melon were what I dwelt on,

though in truth they simply

made the fruit taste sweeter.

So we sat on the porch

in the cool morning, sipping

hot coffee. Behind the news of the day—

strikes and small wars, a fire somewhere—

I could see the top of your dark head

and thought not of public conflagrations

but of how it would feel on my bare shoulder.

If someone could stop the camera then…

if someone could only stop the camera

and ask me: are you happy?

perhaps I would have noticed

how the morning shone in the reflected

color of lilac. Yes, I might have said

and offered a steaming cup of coffee.

Yes. What are you happy about today?

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