Monday, August 6, 2012

Langston Hughes: Looking for Joy


I went to look for Joy,
Slim, dancing Joy,
Gay, laughing Joy,
Bright-eyed Joy--
And I found her
Driving the butcher's cart
In the arms of the butcher boy!
Such company, such company,
As keeps this young nymph, Joy!
--Langston Hughes--

I think the charm is its ambiguity.  Is Joy a young girl or is it the emotion itself?  Or is it both?  Whichever it is, Joy can be found anywhere, even in the arms of the butcher boy.    I can picture the cart moving through the streets guided by the butcher boy with his love in his arms, and their hands intertwined while holding the reins.  I can also picture that same cart driven by a young boy, grinning cheerfully, smiling at all who meet his eye, just glad to be alive.

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