“Too much happiness or too much unhappiness render us
oblivious to any good or bad changes around us.” 
Alka Girdhar


Happiness, like sadness, takes up too much room–
like a greedy house guest usurping our closets with their excess.
What bride notices the homeless on her bridal route?
What new mother thinks first of the starving hidden half a world away?

Sadness, like happiness, eats up our world.
The hungry yearn first for bread,
the ill for surcease from pain.
Who feels the thorn may overlook the rose.

Life is balanced, not within each,
but within the all.
What seems unfair to the single eye
is perfect harmony for the all-seeing.

So much easier
for the fortunate to feel worthy of their lot.
to feel, somehow, that their place in the  world
was created just for them.

Do the cursed feel equally singled out for hunger, cold, pestilence and misery?
Does a master mason have an intended place for every stone?
Does a baker single out a single speck of flour for inclusion?
Is a bee instilled with life to pollinate a certain flower?

What kind consciousness could have borne the guilt
of thinking through a plan more specific than the overplan–
the functioning of the grand machine of the universe
wherein happiness and sadness
swing like a pendulum
that somehow balances all.

The writer who provided the quote that prompted this poem has also written an article about Abdul Kalam  that you can find HERE. The link to the article the above quote was in can be found by clicking on her name above. We would both be interested in what others might write in response to this prompt. If you do, please send a link to both of us!  We want to know what you think.

6 thoughts on “Balance

  1. Alka Girdhar

    Thanks for including my humble lines within your blog post. Although my cited article on Dr Kalam does include these extremes of happiness and unhappiness, possibly in a more meaningful way, but the lines that you liked about ‘too much happiness and unhappiness’ were originally a part of my following post on changing seasons:

    It doesn’t matter though as your poem conveys the essence in a very beautiful way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alka Girdhar

    “happiness, like sadness, takes up too much room–
    like a greedy house guest usurping our closets with their excess.”
    and then
    “Sadness, like happiness, eats up our world.”

    The use of simile/s and personification bring it out so well.

    And then you move on to go deep into this happiness/sadness, as if you question those who are fortunate, but who wrongfully deduce that their place is special, or that they have been singled out by nature to receive this fortune. But there is no ‘intended’ place for anything or anyone, it is random in the whole scheme of things, the ‘over plan’, the ‘grand machine’.



    1. lifelessons Post author

      Phew. So glad you understand perfectly what I was going to say. I must say your statement hounded me all day long. I had parts of this poem in a document on my desktop and kept coming back and reshuffling, adding, subtracting. The final edit was done at 3 a.m. with the help of a friend 1500 miles away who read it and did not understand the fourth stanza, which I then changed entirely and posted. I woke up this morning to a Skype message from him that approved the change. Coupled with your approval of the poem, I can let it be at last. (At first I said “let it lie” which was not a good choice of words at all!) Ha. Hope others write to the prompt. This morning, I’ve added a line at the end to ask them to.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marilyn Armstrong

    I have not known too many rich people, but I have known people who I would considered blessed by good fortune and they seemed grateful and aware that their lot was not typical. All of them were good and generous people. Most of the rest of us … the great throbbing mass of humanity … seem pretty much besieged by everything over the years. We the common clay are the ones afraid to notice that things are going well lest we jinx ourselves. I have also know a fair number of people that I saw as blessedly fortunate who were miserable about something or other. Nothing that would have bothered me, but some people cannot BE happy, no matter what they have or how well they are favored.

    Liked by 1 person


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