Wednesday, January 26, 2011


In the end, happiness is only perceived and acknowledged in certain moments. And poetry freezes moments like nothing else can.

A Blessing
by Ken Hada

After three days of hard fishing
we lean against the truck
untying boots, removing waders.

We change in silence still feeling
the rhythm of cold water lapping
thankful for that last shoal of rainbows
to sooth the disappointment
of missing a trophy brown.

We'll take with us the communion
of rod and line and bead-head nymphs
sore shoulders and wrinkled feet.

A good tiredness claims us
from slipping over rocks, pushing rapids –
sunup to sundown – sneaking
toward a target, eyes squinting
casting into winter wind.

We case the rods, load our bags
and start to think about dinner.
None of us wants to leave.
None wants to say goodbye.

Winter shadows touch the river cane.
The cold is coming. We look up
into a cobalt sky, and there,
as if an emissary on assignment,
a Bald Eagle floats overhead
close enough to bless us
then swiftly banks sunward
and is gone.

"A Blessing" by Ken Hada from Spare Parts. © Mongrel Empire Press, 2010.


kabir said...

Exquisite poem...thanks

Here are some random thoughts about the contingency of happiness...There is a profound story by Le Guin called The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas-

She wrote it with the backdrop of the moral dilemmas posed by Dostoyevsky and William James (below)- is happiness possible without justice?

Imagine that you are creating the fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it is essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature — that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance — and to found the edifice upon its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.
Ivan Karamazov, Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Or if the hypothesis were offered us of a world in which Messrs. Fourier's and Bellamy's and Morris's utopias should all be outdone, and millions kept permanently happy on the one simple condition that a certain lost soul on the far off edge of things should lead a life of lonely torture, what except a specifical and independent sort of emotion can it be which would make us immediately feel, even though an impulse arose within us to clutch at the happiness so offered, how hideous a thing would be its enjoyment when deliberately accepted as the fruit of such a bargain?

William James, The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life,

Asha said...

Wow, thanks - your comments are so informative and enriching. I must read Le Guin.

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