Poetry: "The Mysticism of Happiness”

Felicia Sanzari Chernesky

Editor’s Note: “The Mysticism of Happiness” is an example of Found poetry, in which existing texts are refashioned and presented as poems. The words in a found poem are unaltered from the original source but are rearranged. The original source in this case is Wight Martindale Jr.’s “Miguel de Cervantes—An Appreciation.”

The Mysticism of Happiness

—A poem found in an essay on Cervantes
by Wight Martindale Jr.

Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, and Dante:
reading can be long and lonely.
Love stories with happy endings?
Cervantes and Shakespeare.

This is where it all began.
Marriage is more than just a happy ending.
Women take charge because they must;
the noblemen involved are just not up to it.

The hero of tragedy is not better
than we are, Aristotle says,
but he is more of an extremist.
The anti-hero fails at almost

He is a dead man, and he knows it.
Comedy, on the other hand,
celebrates the small life well lived.

Don Quixote without Sancho Panza?

This is where it all began.
Consider: Crusoe and Friday, Holmes
and Watson—even Christopher Robin
and Winnie the Pooh, and Calvin and Hobbes.

Buffoonery and nonsense! A trick of fortune!
The sometime prostitute, a good-hearted woman,
the most important woman—
love stories with happy endings.

Writing and the imagination:
Alonso “the good,” a small man
with very good intentions.
This is where it all began.

Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, and Dante,
Cervantes and Shakespeare.
You cannot get ahead of them
because they are always there before you.

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