Category Archives: reverse poetry

The Reverse Distribution of Happiness


     Yesterday you sent me a poem by Robert Hass called, “The Distribution of Happiness.”  

Bedcovers thrown back,
Tangled sheets,
Lustrous in moonlight.

Image of delight,
Or longing,
Or torment,

Depending on who’s
Doing the imagining.

(I know: you are the one
Pierced through, I’m the one
Bent low beside you, trying
To peer into your eyes.)

     While I was moved by the poem itself – its meaning, its intimacy, it’s unique expression of love and passion the way few understand it; I was moved more by when I put my usual practice of reading poetry backwards that I found where and how the meaning was held for me, for us…

To peer into your eyes here
bent low beside you
I am the one pierced
through what I know
to be true: you are the one.

We do this, this, imagining
and turn our torment,
our longings into images
of delight.

And you – lustrous beneath
moonlit tangled sheets –
I throw back your bedcovers
and see the distribution
of my happiness.