It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up, something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change. But happiness floats.
It doesn't need you to hold it down.
It doesn't need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records
Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.
This poem really made me think about how much sadness I hold onto when really all I need to do is remember the good things and focus on the positive. In the poem “So Much Happiness”, Naomi Shihab Nye contrasts happiness with sadness. In stanza one, Nye uses metaphoric language to express that sadness can be dealt with and treated. She writes, “a wound to tend with lotion and cloth” (3) and that sadness can be held, like ticket stubs or change. In that line, the repetition of the letter “o” is assonance, and gives you the imagery of a fresh cut being carefully looked after with Band-Aids or large protective cloth. We may have souvenirs from sadness, much like we would have a scar from a wound. Happiness, on the other hand cannot be held. Any souvenirs do not begin to come close to the actual emotion involved because...