The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Happiness The Delight Tree, Bhikshuni Weisbrot, Darrel Alejandro Holnes and Elizabeth Lara, Eds.

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happiness the delight treeReview by Lorraine Currelley

– The editors of Happiness The Delight Tree have succeeded in assembling a group of fine international poets representing Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and Oceania. Happiness The Delight Tree presents a global perspective of happiness. Some poems are deeply philosophical and others light and fun. The metaphors used are colorful, interesting and beautifully carved. Some poems are challenging and others resonated immediately with this reader. Happiness The Delight Tree is a weaving together of an international spirit of human connectedness. A global experience of humanity via happiness.

In “In My Mother’s Clothes” by Anjum Hasan, the speaker is transformed by the experience of wearing her mother’s clothing.

I walk in her clothes
laughing inside, relieved
of the burden of being what one wears
since in my mother’s clothes
I am neither myself nor my mother

but more like that spindly
creature of six who slips onto
her fingers her mother’s gold rings,
pulls on a huge cardigan that smells of sunlight and milk.,
and conducts herself, drowsy with love, through rooms
with their curtains drawn against the honeyed light of June.

When I read this poem I’m transported back to my childhood and little girl dreams. Dreams of becoming a woman and one day owning and wearing my own lovely garments. I travel back to my mother’s kitchen aromas and the scent of my mother’s sachets, dance and laughter. I’m here in this place, trying on a woman’s life and secrets living in these garments of my mother.

Another notable poem is “Grapes of Happiness” by Shirin Razavian

I have entered poverty and hunger
on the list of diseases
soon to be cured.

Bread can kill hunger;
poverty need not prevent happiness
One day
I will cure all pain.

“Grapes of Happiness” is a such a hopeful poem. Poverty does not prevent happiness. Somehow, under the worse conditions the power of the human spirit shines through.The determination for life breaks through all barriers. We find happiness in what we can afford, whether appreciating a flower, the smile of a child, the sunlight or the fact that we have managed to survive another day.

“An Iraqi Girl’s Dream of a Bridegroom” by Siduri Uruk is a persona poem about a young woman.

I dream of a bridegroom who loves me more than all the girls
And even more than the nymphs high up in the skies
I dream of a handsome, cultured bridegroom,
Not wearing pyjamas and flip flops and a volunteer in the militias
I dream of a bridegroom not affiliated to any party
Committee or grouping…

“An Iraqi Girl’s Dream of a Bridegroom” is a powerful and uncompromising poem. The line “I dream of a bridegroom who loves me more than all the girls.  And even more than the nymphs high up in the skies” is both bold and courageous. This is a poem we gift to ourselves, our daughters and all women. She rejects traditional assigned roles to women in a male dominated society. She dreams of equality and freedom of choice. She dreams of the bridegroom and world possibilities hidden
and lived freely in dreams. I am convinced she will have them.

Happiness The Delight Tree is a thoughtfully sculpted and enjoyable read.

Happiness The Delight Tree
Editors Bhikshuni Weisbrot, Darrel Alejandro Holnes and Elizabeth Lara


Lorraine Currelley is a poet, writer, educator, Pearls of Wisdom Storyteller, mental health and grief and bereavement counselor. She’s the Founder/Executive Director of Poets Network & Exchange, Inc, a safe, positive and supportive space for poets and writers at all levels.; where she facilitates poetry and creative writing workshops, produces featured poetry readings, literary events, open mics and a scholar lecture series. She’s the recipient of  S.P.A.R.C.  (Seniors Partnering with the Arts Citywide Residency Grant 2014) and the 2015 NYPL Arts for A Lifetime Residency Grant.

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