Friday, July 08, 2011

Poetry Friday: Essential

I am either an essentially happy person marred by a wide streak of melancholy, or I am essentially a melancholic capable of ridiculous happiness.

I haven't quite decided.

What I have decided is this: this line from Beverly Rollwagen's poem, Essential -- "There is value in the thread of sadness in each person." -- is true.

Happiness is, of course, a good thing. One of my favorite poems is Jane Kenyon's Happiness (although that fact that I would illustrate my thoughts on happiness with a poem written by a woman who struggled with depression all her life might just answer my initial question at the top of this post.)

At any rate, what I love about this poem is the way it points to something so solid and human in each and every one of us -- our longing for goodness, for happiness. Our sorrow at loss of every kind, and the dignity of that sorrow, because it points to something greater. Our yearning for something beyond this world, the thing that will engulf us, finally, in true and eternal happiness, that will take that long note of sadness mentioned at the end of the poem and transform it into a crashing and rapturous symphony.


by Beverly Rollwagen

She just wants to keep her essential
sorrow. Everyone wants her to
be happy all the time, but she doesn't
want that for them. There is value in
the thread of sadness in each person.
The sobbing child on an airplane, the

(Read the rest here, at The Writer's Almanac.)

The Poetry Friday round up is at Wild Rose Reader.


Hannah said...

I relate quite a bit to your self-description, Karen. Do you think that duality is common among people who enjoy writing, who like to reflect on life through blogging?

The poem is succinct and poignant. I like it.

Mary Lee said...

Because we really wouldn't know happiness without that thread of sadness woven through life, eh?

Karen Edmisten said...

True, Mary Lee.
And Hannah, yes, I do think it's common. :)
Thanks, both of you, for stopping by!