Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Being open to happiness

This poem about coconuts and happiness popped up in my in-box this week. It comes from a blog called Eat this Poem which explores "how poetry moves from page to plate, and inspires our palates along the way."

The poem's title caught my eye because Ed and I just came from a place where coconuts grow on trees and young men shimmy up to twist off the fruit and machete chop the stem so that a straw can be inserted, offering coconut juice to thirsty travellers.

The poem is about a particular coconut discovered by a small boy in the fruit section of a grocery store:

and this was happiness
this little ball

But his dad, who had other things on his mind, wasn't open to happiness at that particular moment. He wasn't ready.

and because I wasn't
happy I said
to put it back
because I didn't want it
because we didn't need it

Happiness can come at any moment, so we had better be ready, says the writer of the blog. 

Are you ready? Are you open to happiness? 


by Paul Hostovsky

Bear with me I
want to tell you
something about
it's hard to get at
but the thing is
I wasn't looking
I was looking
somewhere else
when my son found it
in the fruit section
and came running
holding it out
in his small hands
asking me what
it was and could we
keep it it only
cost 99 cents
hairy and brown
hard as a rock
and something swishing
around inside
and what on earth
and where on earth
and this was happiness
this little ball
of interest beating
inside his chest
this interestedness
beaming out
from his face pleading
and because I wasn't
happy I said
to put it back
because I didn't want it
because we didn't need it
and because he was happy
he started to cry
right there in aisle
five so when we got it home we
put it in the middle
of the kitchen table
and sat on either
side of it and began
to consider how
to get inside of it

From Bending the Notes (Main Street Rag, 2008)


While we were in Thailand, I ordered Tom Kah – coconut soup – whenever it was on the menu. I couldn't get enough of it. On our last day, we stopped by a market and I bought the essential ingredients: lemongrass, galangal root, thai chilies, and kaffir lime leaves, tucking them away in my suitcase. 

Once home, I found this recipe and this recipe and combined them to make a Farm Dover version of Thai Coconut Soup. 

And in that bowl of silky, aromatic soup, I found happiness.  

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