Hap

by Daryl L. L. Houston

If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing, 
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.

But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
-- Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan...
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

-- Thomas Hardy, 1866

I’m just going to go roll around in a pile of ashes now.

This is a Hardy staple, and for good reason. I love the coinage “unblooms,” and the helpless sentiment is hard to argue with. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a more succinct, bitter, and on-target distillation of the human condition.

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