Happiness

A poem by John Frederick Freeman

I have found happiness who looked not for it.
There was a green fresh hedge,
And willows by the river side,
And whistling sedge.

The heaviness I felt was all around.
No joy sang in the wind.
Only dull slow life everywhere,
And in my mind.

Then from the sedge a bird cried; and all changed.
Heaviness turned to mirth:
The willows the stream's cheek caressed,
The sun the earth.

What was it in the bird's song worked such change?
The grass was wonderful.
I did not dream such beauty was
In things so dull.

What was it in the bird's song gave the water
That living, sentient look?
Lent the rare brightness to the hedge?
That sweetness shook

Down on the green path by the running water?
Or the small daisies lit
With light of the white northern stars
In dark skies set?

What was it made the whole world marvellous?
Mere common things were joys.
The cloud running upon the grass,
Children's faint noise,

The trees that grow straight up and stretch wide arms,
The snow heaped in the skies,
The light falling so simply on all;
My lifted eyes

That all this startling aching beauty saw?
I felt the sharp excess
Of joy like the strong sun at noon--
Insupportable bliss!

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