Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Power of a Poem 11



I like the poems of Raymond Carver for their sheer lucidity, their objective observation of life, and their inevitability.  In other terms, the words of the poem simply had to be written. It's almost as if Carver invites us into his mind to take a seat around the hearth of his thoughts and feelings. He is an author of great compassion.  His poems deal with situations we all encounter in daily life.  In the following poem he describes an early morning observation he made and entitles it "Happiness."  As a would-be philosopher I have read much about what happiness is.  Some people argue that it is an aim we all have in life.  Others dispute this.  One of my favourite psychiatrists, Professor Ivor Browne argues that it is a silly objective for any of us to have in life.  At most we can achieve a certain equanimity.  I'm inclined to agree with the wise professor.

In the following poem, I believe Carver comes as close as is possible to giving a good description of happiness.  Read it slowly and reflect upon the words of this little poem and you will enter the heart of compassion which lives in Carver's poems.

Happiness


So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.


When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.


They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.


I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.


They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.


Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.


Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.


Raymond Carver in a typically strong pose

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