Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Poem: Happiness

What Tolstoy said about families, 
Also describes each of us individually: 
Every happy person is alike; 
Every unhappy person is unhappy in his own way.

Creative new variations of  
neurosis, sin, unsatisfactoriness,  
and so forth, 
Are born with every step we take into the world, 
Spreading forth through the universe, 
Like a parody version of Indra’s Web.   
Yet each of these fresh hells can be followed back  
To one of the great three problems 
That the Buddhists call 
Greed, hatred, and ignorance. 
Or, you could put it this way: 
Lust, aversion, and blindness. 
Or this way: 
Craving, abhorrence, and stupidity. 
Or this way: 
Wanting (anything), rejecting (anything),  and lack of information. 
Or you could avoid putting words on them, 
Which wouldn’t keep them from still being the three causes of all unhappiness. 
Of the three, the third seems most forgivable, especially if it’s the innocent kind. 
But once you’ve finally seen your way through to these three gnarly roots, 
The culpability isn’t as  important as the seeing. 
Every unhappy person is unhappy in his own, peculiar flavor of separation; 
Every happy person sees through the separation,
 And smiles.

No comments:

Post a Comment