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THE HAPPINESS CATCHER

November 26, 2014
In a land distant both in time and place,
the most sacred object is a butterfly net
with big holes in it—symbolizing happiness.

For, you see, we spend so long
chasing happiness like a butterfly
and then, having captured it, we try
to embrace it with both our arms
and hold it close to
our hearts,
yet it wriggles free from our clutches
and flies far away,
leaving us only with precious recollections of our
momentary encounter
to sustain us for the rest of our lives.

Perhaps it is just as well that it escapes our grasp,
for it is so fragile and delicate
that the instant we grab at its gossamer wings
with our crude, clumsy fingers
we damage it beyond repair.

And so it is better that we are granted
a fleeting glimpse at happiness
rather than mangling it
with our hands
and destroying forever its magic.

Michael Cheval
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3 Comments
  1. Your artist friends are fantastic.

    Here’s my take: The first stanza is breathtaking. The rest is unnecessary.

    • Are you saying Doug that the rest of the poem is implicit in the first stanza and that’s why it’s unnecessary? With all due respect to the readers of my work, I think that’s a big leap of an assumption to make. And that’s why I feel that the additional stanzas are needed to explicate what I mean by the first stanza.

      • Speaking only for myself, I found the image delightful and interesting and felt the rest of it didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t already gotten.

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