Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Happiness: The Feeling of Increasing

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Happiness: The Feeling of Increasing

Article excerpt

Seagulls swooped over the schoolyard

when the nuns lined us up

in ragged rows to sing hymns

and pray for a series of abstractions --

The Conversion of Pagan England,

Holy Purity, and a Happy Death --

while the indiscriminate birds

screeching victory, guzzled our lunches on the fly.

Hunger is the best sauce, my mother said,

and the dogs on our street were a case in point.

Cute as Christians with two names to prove it --

Peggy Ryan and Spot Shepherd,

Patch Medlar and Razor Hennessy --

their mismatched parts could make a cat laugh.

Agile dodgers of kicks and curses,

they could be counted on to manifest themselves

whenever food appeared.

In those days we knew that County Cavan people

ate their dinner from a drawer and certain Dubliners

would eat you without salt for looking crooked. …

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