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Poetry and Medicine
March 3, 1999

Happiness*

Author Affiliations
 

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;281(9):780S. doi:10.1001/jama.281.9.780

I walk through the meadow—my boots glisten
from the morning's rain—deep in this land
is a trace of the numinous.
A fragrance—the rain has released the fragrance
of grass—some days
I am detached like a stone out of place
but today my heart is enormous.
Today the meadow blazes with wormwood
and tiny bright flowers. Today I recall the tales
of incredible riches, of buried treasure.
Ghost-ridden peasants went to their graves
in search of a map, a key—if only was welded to their breasts,
a part of their lives,
what if I found it was their shadow, their bread.
What if I found it lives in me, too—
a monotonous cricket
in the moist steppe of my experience.
It blunts my ears, my soul.
What if I found it makes my attention move elsewhere—
when the cricket chirps
I am unable to feel the movements of my heart—
Today the cricket is silent.
Where will I search for the buried treasure? Where will I dig
for my casket of happiness?
I'll dig right here.

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