You Were Happy

Maggie Mason posted this on Mighty Girl around holiday time, and it’s been floating through my brain ever since.  It’s the perfect  perspective amidst the mess, and helped me as I was thinking through the past year.

Suddenly, it’s January 11 (whaaa?), and I feel in the thick of it– continuing to run after some (big) things I’ve been working towards for the past few months, and trying to keep from peeing my pants at the same time.  So, for the rest of this week and next I’m writing about Doing The Work + making things happen, as well as some of the things I’ve been taking away from chatting with artist buddies.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about putting plans into action.

It Was Like This: You Were Happy

It was like this:
you were happy, then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.

It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent — what could you say?

Now it is almost over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

It does this not in forgiveness –
between you, there is nothing to forgive –
but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

Eating, too, is now a thing only for others.

It doesn’t matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.

– Jane Hirshfield


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