Monday, December 28, 2009

Sonnet on Mirth - Jennifer Michael Hecht

Of mirth the poets counsel little after
that present it be loved for present laughter.
Also that fool hearts, alone, let themselves belong in
the house of it; the wise, the house of mourning.
Why such divergent answers from such teachers?
Life seemed cruelly short to bard; cruelly long to preacher.
Yet true times as rivers flow or candles burn,
long in the stretches, short on the turns,
and mirth with bitter herbs is better taken
than meals of mirth alone or years of it forsaken.
Does sweet improve when mixed with strain,
or is it that the acrid in that blend begins to fade?
Much endures while youth slips away like a thief;
mirth is a wine well pressed in the house of grief.

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