Wednesday, September 26, 2012

the archeology of happiness (wherefore)

the archeology of happiness (wherefore)

I have of late—but wherefore
I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of
exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my
disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to
me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, 
 the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament,
this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, 
 it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent
congregation of vapors.
Hamlet, The Tragedy of Hamlet 2.2.295-303

(a) the archeologists

they knew this all in retrospect of course
the recognition was gradual and then obvious

the day he was no longer funny was a Tuesday
and the morning air was cool before a sunny day

in most ways the day itself was entirely normal
a day like all the others of his life except the loss

the record of the artifacts was all quite compelling
once they began to rebuild the archeology of happiness

(b) the culture

people often fail to remember the good days
once there are bad days to cloud their minds

the day they bought their first pet as a family

the dog was a chocolate lab puppy unlike the others
somehow too big and clumsy but the obvious one

once they came unglued as a family and tattered
recalling days like that one simply slipped away

like the family dog now greyed limping and there
always sleeping or just barely holding up its head

(c) the subject

after the end of funny
after the end of happiness
this is what he thought:

we never danced together
but in my mind that was a happy day

or to be precise

we never danced together
but in my mind that was a happy night

us swaying together holding on
for every everyone to see our embracing

dancing is a celebration of two as one
the way i believed happiness could be

archeologists gather stones and pottery shards
but hopes and dreams are artifacts too

and the record of my mind and longings
often seem more real than these days after

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