Where has the Joy gone?
Where has life’s sweetness fled?
Why do we feel so lost or abandoned when we have so much?
Going back in time, we find examples aplenty of joy-deprived folks,
Piles and piles of grieving souls from the dawn of humanity.
Joy was brief in olden days but stretched-out sadness was common.
The privileged few at the top of life’s pyramid savored pleasure of every sort,
The others down below had life but no joy.
Before the horrors of the Great Revolution over there, Marie-Antoinette, the Austrian princess, who had more than enough in every sense, said to the court,
“Let them eat cake,” or “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche,” about the starving Parisian masses.
Their Joy was taken by force and was never really given back by post-monarchical regimes for some time.
We should all be vigilant when politicizing our future dreams, right or left. William Butler Yates warned us that “the centre will not hold,” that society’s core is soft under pressure from a disjointed populace.
Long after heads tumbled grotesquely at the Place de la Concorde because the people were joyless and murderous;
Like the sanguinary zealots at the birth of modern France,
Dangerous rebels fueled by rage without a plausible cause,
A tinder-box waiting for the match to strike,
To avoid this lurking uprising, we are advised to see a shrink or a mood lifter or
Take another pill that has just been FDA-approved so Big Pharma tells us in media ads
To bring sunshine to minds lacking the right hormonal balance.
Pundits, who say they know, offer us learned advice at every turn:
By all means, sleep better, go outside more, meet face to face with folks of a similar nature, run an extra mile,
Be affable when every fiber says turn inward to seek an answer.
At the corner store we can now buy mainline cannabis that will dull our senses: it’s only a few puffs away.
There are no super highs or lows to experience over time,
Weed or pot guarantees smooth sailing over choppy inner seas.
Only life’s middle ground or bland consciousness is there to feel.
The pain is mitigated but not resolved. It crouches patiently somewhere within and waits for the next turmoil to raise its head.
Where has our Joy gone? Somewhere else or maybe less far away than we think.
Having no one to talk to is bad, solitude is even worse. The feeling of isolation is a disease that lacks a pharmaceutical cure.
We can talk to the counter clerk, but not about esoteric things. We can chat with familiar faces but not about what really matters.
We can talk with or at people but it’s pretty unusual to have them listen. There are so many who go their way but don’t stop to look around or change their fixation on immediate things.
Age winnows our talk-buddies and that makes it hard to understand younger minds
Who talk with their thumbs in short bursts; no lengthy analyses, please. Characters are limited and things that happened way back then are not cool.
Where has the Joy gone? We need it back again because it has left us out of sync and lonesome as we try to find common ground with rising, impatient generations.
Blank faces in large crowds look past us and we are not there for them; we are invisible oldies who belong elsewhere.
We are elders, anonymous to hostile looks but not to ourselves, bodies on legs that move in the rivers of humanity up and down the urban canyons and wonder why we feel so bad at times.
Where has our Joy gone and why can’t we get it back?
Tick, tock, time is running out for all of us who once saw the glass half full some time ago.
Now we are afraid because we sense those crouching, hidden forces within will come to the surface and override cannabis and pills that make us stable.
For so many the morning sunlight is a warning signal, not the promise of a blessed, God-given day. If being in meetings or filling up the hours with minor tasks or even running some more won’t right the me-ship, then we go back to zero and try again?
Joy is there, somewhere, we just can’t find it right now.