What Gives You Joy?

Hello Darkness, my morning friend. I’m up with you again…listening to the rain and the wind and contemplating the blank page. My poetry creative colleague and collaborator, Helen Shay, sent me a meme in an email yesterday. It was jolly and very funny and was a riff on Netflix’ feng-shui evangelist Marie Kondo. Her tagline, for those who have dodged that pop culture meme, is Does it spark joy? Well, my plastic lemon squeezer does the job, but would a wood or glass one spark more joy? I ask you? I like lemon, so I guess it does spark joy…kind of. Although a wood or glass one would be more aesthetically pleasing.

But my contemplations became more existential as I listened to the rain. I can live with my heaps and piles. And her edict about only owning thirty (30!) books still has me reeling back with disbelief and distaste with such a noisome notion. I’d rather be untidy.

Nearly thirty years ago I was listening to Irish poet Eavan Boland on a BBC Radio 4 programme. She had been ranging around Ireland teaching women poetry writing in the community. She asked one group if they would now go back home to their villages and townlands and proclaim themselves poets. And one woman piped up, “Sure, they would think I was the kind of woman who didn’t wash her curtains!”

Dear Reader, I have aspired to and now achieved that status. I cannot remember when I last washed my curtains!

But back to the more existential concerns for the Poetry Daily.

What Gives You Joy?

Let's not pretend
that this isn't the hot button
question of the day.

How all our stuff,
this accumulated junk
is no more than
unwelcome toys
of mass distraction,
barricading us off from more
existential annoyances.

None of it
we'll be able to keep.
It's just leftovers of life
that executors will have to unheap.
A coffin can only hold
so many grave goods.

Pack me off with
a conch shell I have hauled around
three countries
along with
a lump of Marcellus rock.

I kept them with me
this long lifetime.
I know where I come from.
I know where I'll go to.

As for joy...

it is the plinking of rain on a tin roof,
the sea sighing as the tide recedes,
the chuffing of wind as it meets
the resistance of trees.

Joy is nothing
one can ever keep.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by Preslie Hirsch on Unsplash

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