A Happy Life ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 7

Brendan Kennelly
Brendan Kennelly

Brendan Kennelly is one of Ireland’s best-loved poets. He is very much ‘the people’s poet’; a man with great intellect, humour and the most wonderful dimpled smile.

His poem  A Happy Life is one which often makes me stop and think.

A Happy Life

What constitutes a happy life? 
Enough money to meet your needs 
steady work 
a comfortable fire 
a clear distance from law 
a minimum of city business 
a peaceful mind and a healthy body 
simple wisdom and firm friends 
enjoyable dinners and plain living 
nights free from care 
a virtuous wife who’s not a prude 
enough sleep to make the darkness short 
contentment with the life you have, 
avoiding the sneer, the poisoned sigh; 
no fear of death 
and no desire to die.

( from: Brendan Kennelly,  Martial Art ,  2003)

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

7 thoughts on “A Happy Life ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 7”

    1. Louis, many thanks for writing. I have to say I can identify totally with your sentiments about ‘a minimum of city business.’ It;s the city leisure that I miss, betimes!

  1. Lovely poem indeed Jean from a man who has seen great happiness and suffering; a bit like us all. PS New Year’s resolution: to meet you for coffee before the end of January. Promise.

  2. I can’t agree about the city business. I like cities. Mm, I don’t know about the virtuous wife bit either!! Oh well, each to their own.

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