Is there happiness?

Painting ©Bernardien Sternhelm


Is there happiness to be found,

to be picked up for the asking,

plucked from random moments

and the bustle of other people’s lives?

It used to be there,

I remember,

packed in books and chocolate,

and sauced with the scent of Christmas pine and pudding,

or filling the hours spent sifting pebbles and pond life,

while the world stood still and held its breath.

What remains of that wonderment

that filled to the brim the vessel of content?

Cloud hangs now on the horizon,

fear of tomorrow at every fiery sunset.

Grains of sand in the machine

grind and grumble through the blackbird’s song,

once beauty pure enough to stop the sun in its course.

The world is full of shadow,

and the limpid mornings,

the golden afternoons,

the birdsong of another time,

an echo growing fainter by the year.

When the darkness gathers

and the ricochets of broken dreams

fall thick and fast as bullets,

and the veil of fog on the river will not lift,

I reach out and touch your hand,

the pivot, the centre that must hold,

however thick the darkness grows

and the sunlight cold.

Her heart brims over


Is it pleasure or love the heart feels

Or something even deeper?

A look, a touch, a word,

A falling leaf,

A note of birdsong,

Cloud patterns across a broad blue sky

Spark an indefinable something

That fills the spirit full of glory.

The giving and receiving

Emptying and filling

So full its light brims over

And shines through the eyes and the body’s pores.

Love, is it?

Love of so much so many.

It soars with eagles and mist-white gulls

and curls with you in your fox-warm earth.

Walking towards the rainbow’s end


Was yesterday so much better?
Were we not prey to the same doubts and fears?
Harking back to the good times
Trying to recall the taste of a special wine
The warmth of a spring day
We struggle to relive a spurious happiness
Because the future was still far away.
Today the wine is long finished
And spring and summer gone
But in this now, so dreaded so despised
We walk together, hand in hand
One day closer to our dreams.