Over the past months, well since its inception really, I have received some informal feedback on this blog. The criticisms mainly focus on the title, ‘suffering’, and the content (which hopefully reflects the title…).

For some, I guess the word ‘suffering’ has a penitential connotation. For others, the blog content has a seriousness that weighs heavily on them.

I make no apologies for the blog title or content.

For me, life is wondrously rich and various and unpredictable and complex and enigmatic and contrary.

It is what it is, a heady mix of challenging stuff.

For me also, suffering does not have the negative connotations that it appears to have for others. Suffering is part of the complicated mix of what it means to be alive and living and experiencing.

Today, I thought I would throw a smidge of happiness into this rich mix, given the current climate of ‘Happy New Year’, which has followed swiftly on from ‘Happy Christmas’…

I have chosen two poems.

Firstly, from Raymond Carver’s Happiness:

‘Happiness. It comes on

unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,

any early morning talk about it.’

Secondly, Stephen Dunn’s similarly titled poem, Happiness:

A state you must dare not enter

with hopes of staying,

quicksand in the marshes, and all

the roads leading to a castle

that doesn’t exist.

But there it is, as promised,

with its perfect bridge above

the crocodiles,

and its doors forever open.’