Sunday, November 13, 2005

GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS

Risking Sentimentality

And why not, who says that a mother’s love is sentimental?
Why can’t we write about the depths of our frightening
feelings? Why can’t I describe what my son’s sleeping breath
does to me. It hurts.

I’ll take that chance. If I don’t recognize it, give it a name:
love, then what will become of it? I need to tell you how
I’d take on my daughter’s facial tics as my own, if I could,
I’d carry every hurt and fear for both of them,
and of course, I’d die.

Some moms scrapbook, paste each remembering
into well-documented milestones. Photos with scalloped edges
arranged on decorative paper with stickers. And that’s fine.
I have a box of photos, layers of labeled envelopes,
I’ll get to them someday.

In the meantime, here is my scrapbooking,

My love is a many splintered thing, gets me out of bed,
helps me rise to the occasion after I screw things up.
I offer my life up for them, try to be an example
of a human being who makes it a point to say, “I love you,”
every day in what I do.

I hold their faces in my hands and tell them we are rich,
but not with money, and they don’t know, money
hasn’t taken hold of them. If we all tell our children
it doesn’t matter, then someday, maybe it won’t.
Maybe then

the earth would run on a different type of currency,
with the ideology of Bhutan growing like the second coming
of the great flood, Gross National Happiness washing
away strip malls, pollution, political parties, even violence,
like a reset button.

If the last Buddhist country can be so idealistic, measuring worth
by something immeasurable, then I can write this poem
about a mother’s love
to the world.


*For more info on GNH, see LINKS

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