Why Can't I Write A Happy Poem?
Poetry by Lachlan Irvine


(A response to a letter in a Vietnam veterans journal which complained that the poems the journal had been publishing, including some of mine, had been too depressing)

Where is my muse in times of happiness?
Why am I left with not a word to say?
In essaying expressions of true love,
Why do I stoop to over-used cliché?

To tell a tale of noble sacrifice,
Voluminous the words come gushing forth;
But to express a mood of "joie de vie",
The plethora will soon become a dearth.

The baser moods are simpler to portray,
Freely the words will flow in times of pain;
But when uplifted by a lighter air
The search for inspiration is in vain.

When, walking with my love some sunny day,
So full of joy my heart would surely burst,
I pause to pen fine words for her to read,
The virgin page sits waiting for my first.

If I can write of deep and dark despair,
Of loneliness when far away from home;
If all these words come easily to me,
Why, oh why can't I write a happy poem?

Lachlan Irvine

For more Vietnam War poems, return to the Vietnam War Poetry Page.

Vietnam War Poetry