In the poem, “Happiness”, the poet, Priscilla Leonard, illustrates for the reader that happiness cannot be contained and that one human cannot own all happiness. The poem happiness is about how to live life to the fullest. In the first two lines of the poem, ”Happiness is a crystal/ fair and exquisite and clear” the feeling and emotion that the poet gives the reader, is peaceful and tranquil(1-2). Leonard throws a different perspective at the reader when she write ,”broken in a million pieces/shattered scattered far and near(4-5).
The emotion has now been cut off. It is like an alarm clock to the reader. She goes onto say in the last part of the stanza that if one understands this and “now and then along life’s pathway/lo! Some shining fragments fall” and they are lucky enough to behold these pieces of happiness, they will experience great joy(5-6). Leonard writes that “there are so many pieces/ no one ever finds them all” to say happiness is not bought, nor to be stolen, but it is to be earned, found, and given to one another(7-8). There are different pieces of happiness.
Some pieces of happiness that Leonard says, are that “you may find a bit of beauty/or an honest share of wealth”(9-10). beauty and honest wealth are two things modern women wish to have and to be. Leonard being a woman might have placed these two elements of beauty to reach out to certain woman readers, so that they could relate to the poem. Leonard tells a tale about a neighbor, and how their greed got them no happiness, and no matter how much they searched and reached out to grab all happiness, it escaped their grasp.
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Before that she tells of the wise on their journey of life. She wrote that they “treasure every fragment clear/[and] fit them as they may together/imaging the shattered sphere”(17-19). The wise care about and realize that they are “to be ever thankful” even though their share of wisdom is tiny, they understand that “it has so many pieces no one ever finds them all”(20,22-23). The wise know that their gift of happiness is being wise and that there are also many other great gifts in the world. There is, of course, a difference etween the fool and the wise. Once the fool receives a gift , he tries to get all he can. The wise get a gift and know to be satisfied with what they have, and not to wander around looking for more satisfaction. The wise, being wise imagine not just a sphere that the poet has put into context for u, but the true meaning of happiness. The reason why the author uses a crystal ball as a symbol for happiness is because a crystal seems fragile and priceless, but at the same time a sense of immortality.
A crystal is treasured and admired by all who see it. Thieves and fools want it so they can have more pleasures. Respectable and wise people use it as a gift and are humble. Holding all happiness in your hands can have a strange effect though. Even some of the wisest men have fallen under its luring spell. Don’t be deceived by happiness, it is like a double-edged sword. If people would pay more careful attention to poets like Priscilla Leonard there might not be so many corrupted souls in the world.
Happiness is not a toy that can be pulled out and played with, only to be lost when searching for more. Since happiness cannot be contained, but it can easily be destructive and lost. Treat it like a crystal; clear, true, and exquisite. When happiness seems to be out of reach, wait a little until some falls on your lap. Until then admire it as you would a passing cloud. This close reading has helped to take a step back and to realize the value of looking at life through a wide angled lens. And to not just look at happiness, but in all the elements of life.
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