I’ve made my own Museum of
Happiness, which isn’t built of brick
or stone or wood, its walls the thickness
of the day, a flapping tongue of canvass
held in place by rope & peg to stop
it flying off & joyously away
up into everywhere in time & space.
I’ll carry it around with me to pitch
beside the sea, in a field or by
that river, a billowing rickety marquee,
a travelling show of personal delights
performing one night only & forever.
What sights! What wonders! See those things unseen
except in meanwhiles, vivid dreams,
smile, laugh & gasp & live a lifetime
somewhere in between the daily grind
of minutes into hours, be amazed
by happiness’s alchemy
transmogrifying days of certainty
to joyous, raucous aeons of impossibility.
Step right up, pay nothing, be called in
to watch the carnival of you begin,
the show to beat all shows where nothing’s
out of bounds & every good thing goes
around & comes around again, not down
or out & you’re the hottest act in town,
the permanently top display, the troupe
of you booked solid every single smiling day.
About this poem
In 2017, Stuart A. Paterson became the second BBC Scotland Poet in residence. ‘Happiness’ was written for Personal Best in October, 2017.