Smile for Peace

It's hard, sometimes, to find a reason to be happy. Happiness can seem so trivial, so selfish. How can we be happy, we ask, when the world is what the world is? How can we laugh, while the Nigerian girls are still captive? How can we forgive golf in the face of a beheading? Where is the activism in a smile?

I try to take my cue from Mary Oliver, who cites

Mozart, For Example

All the quick notes
Mozart didn't have time to use
before he entered the cloud-boat

are falling now from the beaks
of the finches
that have gathered from the joyous summer

into the hard winter
and, like Mozart, they speak of nothing
but light and delight,

though it is true, the heavy blades of the world
are still pounding underneath.
And this is what you can do too, maybe,

if you live simply and with a lyrical heart
in the cumbered neighborhoods or even,
as Mozart sometimes managed to, in a palace,

offering tune after tune after tune,
making some hard-hearted prince
prudent and kind, just by being happy