HAPPINESS

Roof
egg
I laugh.

This piece is dedicated to my English 301 class who validated it as a poem. I wrote it to illustrate how just putting words together does not necessarily make one a poet, but the students saw beyond these words. They saw shelter, food and happiness and they said the poem addressed a larger concern of life and that it was complete. I therefore saw it fit to entitle the poem Happiness, but my question is: can the two things listed in the poem lead to a qualification of happiness, or are we talking about one person’s view of happiness as typifying versions of happiness like it? “Roof”, they argued, covered our need for shelter, even the crazy housing market in the United States, particularly in California, which has made us question the whole concept of the “American Dream” house, even in a situation where lenders get into impossible contracts with subprime borrowers. Then they moved on to consider egg as either life-enabling, or just as representing all food, and moving on, they said a person with shelter and food can – actually – laugh, which they took to represent happiness. By then I had joined in this process of validating what I even called my haiku, and agreed with the argument that if you can laugh (happiness) you can be in a position to fulfill other dreams you may have that would make your life complete. I love this class!

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