Saturday, September 5, 2015

You have to believe in happiness

“You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes.
I know that a bird chirps none the less
When all that he finds is crumbs.

You have to believe the buds will blow,
Believe in the grass in the days of snow.
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing,
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.

You have to believe in happiness—
It isn’t an outward thing.
The Spring never makes the song, I guess,
As much as the song the Spring.

Aye, many a heart could find content
If it saw the joy on the road it went,
The joy ahead when it had to grieve,
For the joy is there—but you have to believe.”

—Douglas Malloch (1877–1938)

My mom had memorized this poem as a child and can still recite it to this day. We were talking memories recently, and that's how I came to know about it. After looking up to find the original source, I am a bit hesitant to quote, showcase, or celebrate this author because of his involvement with and poetic tributes to the lumbering industry; however, that time has passed and a good poem is a good poem. May the birds of happiness forever have a tree to chirp from!

The image and poem are both from the same time period, approximately 1928. My mom grew up in the 1950s, so clearly it was still in circulation around then, although it seems to have dropped off since the mid-'60s.

Birds of Happiness
image: TuckDB Ephemera [modified t.g.]


3 comments:

  1. My grandmother's favorite poem....I still have a stationery card with this poem she received many, many years ago. That card stated the author is "Anonymous," and not Douglas Malloch. I'm so glad to know who actually wrote it, thanks to you.

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  2. I wish I could find cards with just the 2nd stanza on it..It is so comforting to those in pain..

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