Take a Stanza – Happiness

This little poetry feature of mine is long overdue, so here are two stanzas from a four-stanza poem by Jane Kenyon. That’s right—two for the price of one:


There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

– Jane Kenyon

For a brief biography of Jane Kenyon, along with about 10 of her poems, visit the Academy of American Poets website. The site also has the full text of Happiness.

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4 Responses to Take a Stanza – Happiness

  1. Dad says:

    I’m not easily finding the other two stanzas – help me out.

  2. Karl says:

    I should have provided a direct link to the poem. Here it is: Happiness

  3. Diane says:

    hey karl — i like how she links forgiveness and happiness. i’m thrilled to tell you that i can relate this to john denver. His life and work was was featured on pbs last night during one of their endless pledge drives. i watched briefly . . . really! anyway, they were analyzing his songs — and there’s a park in colordo where his songs are written on boulders (another link to kenyon’s poem!) — and talking about “sunshine on my shoulders” and how there’s a lot of pain together with the joy in that song . . . making both more poignant.
    oh my, can you believe i’m putting this out there in a public forum???

  4. Aunt Ginny says:


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