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Happiness by Raymond Carver

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Is it still possible to be happy, I ask myself, staring at a blank page. At a time when grief and loss have embraced the world, the most I’ve seen—at least in my lifetime. Is it possible, I ask no one in particular, looking at the moon. At the sky that still looks beautiful night after night after night.

What does it mean to be happy then, I ask him, earnest and pleading, for what I don’t really know. You have me, he says. And I have you. It is really that simple.

Trust the timing of your life, I always tell myself. Perhaps to be happy is to just be here. Perhaps that is enough.

Merry Christmas.

Raymond Carver

So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

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This poem appeared in All of Us by Raymond Carver, published by Vintage Contemporaries, 1996. Shared here with profound gratitude.

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