The Happiness


There’s a happiness, a joy

in one soul, that’s been

buried alive in everyone

and forgotten.


It isn’t your barroom joke

or tender, intimate humor

or affections of friendliness

or big, bright pun.


They’re the surviving survivors

of what happened when happiness

was buried alive, when

it no longer looked out


of today’s eyes, and doesn’t

even manifest when one

of us dies, we just walk away

from everything, alone


with what’s left of us,

going on being human beings

without being human,

without that happiness.


Jack Hirschman (USA, 1933 -)


Reprinted from Front Lines by permission of City Lights Books. Copyright © 2002. All rights reserved. Source:



Cover: detail of an oil on canvas by Gaitonde, Untitled 1965, ph. Diana Marrone

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