Poem: An Understanding of Happiness


An Understanding of Happiness

The gallery is nearly empty,
a mix of light and space,
of uncomfortable art that draws few crowds,
only a few, those willing to subject themselves
to the distressing, the sad, the other side
that we prefer to leave in boxes in the attic.

Watch these few patrons with their tears,
their sad eyes leaking emotion.
Admire them and rejoice with them.
Knowing sadness,
their understanding of happiness
is far more than the keepers of boxes.

About this poem

None of us like the horrible in life. But we have to let ourselves feel it, feel the pain. That is how we let it go. That is how we realize just how joyful joy actually is.

The picture was taken at the Mass MoCA. The exhibit was a collection of letters and documents from Nazi prisons. They were hard to read, a reminder of what we humans are capable of doing to each other.



  1. People say “why subject yourself to that? What good does it do?” But I think we need to be reminded, as you say. I also think, it is a small way of acknowledging all those people and their suffering. They deserve to be remembered. I’ve read things that tore my heart out. Did I need to do that to myself? Yes, I think so.

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