If you want to be happy then be happy

I’m thinking of a poem that Johnny recalls studying back in school days.  He can’t remember his age or grade, but he harks back to the details of the storyline impeccably upon my mention of our found crystal ball/glass fishing buoy.

The poem tells a tale of the unfulfilled hope for a special something to happen in one’s life.

Although my above photo and haiku share the same ending as Johnny’s poem (finding the glass ball), his poem, fittingly entitled ‘Disappointment’, does not end with my same appreciative feelings of happiness and good fortune upon the discovery.

The poem was written in Irish by native Aran poet and writer Máirtín Ó Direáin (1910-88) in the year 1949.  Much of his writing undoubtedly is rooted in his Aran upbringing.  Unrelated, but noteworthy, he attended the same school which my children now attend.

I found his book that contained the poem at the local leabharlann in a book of poetry simply titled Dánta (Poems) 1939-1979,  and Johnny translated it for me.  It rings of not only another era, but of another culture.  1940’s.  In Ireland.  On an island.


I never got a toirtín∗ 

That would delight the day,

Like being first to see a newborn lamb

Not yet licked by its mother.

I never looted a bird’s nest

And I’m not boasting;

I never caught a cliff bird

Because I never went after it:

But I saw a wonder one day

On the waves edge close to the shore,

That was sparkling under the bright sun

And my heart jumped with happiness,

But when I reached the tide’s edge

What would I get before me

But a clear glass ball

That kept nets afloat.

∗a tart, in this case received as reward for being first to experience something



Ní bhfuair mé riamh toirtín

A chuir gliondar ar an lán,

Uainín fann gan éitir,

Gan é lite ag a mháthair,

Níor shlad mé riamh nead éin

Is ní le gaisce atáim á rá;

Níor rug mé ar éan aille

Mar nach ndeachaigh mé ina ghábh:

Ach chonaic mé an t-iontas lá

Ag ciumhais na dtonn cois trá,

É ag spréacharnaigh faoin ngréin ghil

Is léim mo chroí le háthas,

Ach nuair a shroicheas taoby na taoille

Céard a gheobhainn romham ann

Ach liathróid gheal ghloine

A choinniodh líonta ar shámh.

Our white ‘crystal ball’ fishing float has retired its sea legs and is living a second life as garden art, pictured above, and the green ball below belongs to Margaret Maeve and joins other trove in her bedroom.  The first picture is where I’d like it to sit.  The second is where it actually sits.

The “surge of happiness” after finding his own ball, expressed by Tom Rizzo in the first paragraph of this article on The Glass Museum website, leads to a most comprehensive, colourful, and interesting piece of writing by him on the glass fishing float.

Considering the contrast in views on happiness under near same circumstances, the expressions ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ come to mind.  But I don’t want to ramble on about the what, where, when, why, and how of happiness, only the who.  And that is you, and me, and each thinking individual.

In times of disappointment, frustration, and upset, I like to remind the children that there is always something to be grateful for.  The opposite also holds true; something can always be found to criticize, grumble, fault find, doubt, and dwell in self-pity over.  In moments of upset we talk about the emotional options available and how acceptable each is under the circumstances, meaning, do they benefit the situation and will it help them return to happiness?  It usually doesn’t take them very long to come back around to their usual joyful disposition.

Moral of the story… if you want to be happy then be happy, no one can stop you but you!


  1. stephpep56 says:

    I read the poem out loud in Irish first, It has a lovely ring to it that way. The simplicity of the words he used were so refreshing. (Then I read it again in english. not as nice a ring) A lovely post Melissa, Hope you are surviving the storms. Just read somewhere recently that one day the wind stopped on Achill island and the people fell over. hugs steph xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Donna, Thanks for appreciating the simplicity….often there is a temptation for me to elaborate on the topic but I don’t want to drown readers in my opinion and I love the challenge of making the point without saying too much. Of course this doesn’t always apply, but in this case it’s so. Have a fab weekend. 🙂


    • Thanks Irene. I like to think we are also teaching them ‘how’ to choose happiness as sometimes it’s not easy for children or us adults to see the good in a situation. Sometimes we end up deciding that the happiness is simply the fact that we’re still living and breathing and aware. They can still feel sad or disappointed, while also being aware of a joy that is present too, trying to keep focused on the feelings that we want to multiply. I hope that makes sense. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    A lovely thought provoking piece Melissa. I love the glass balls (envious – how I would love them in my garden, and I can see why Margaret Meave wants to keep hers) and the poems. There is definitely a melancholy tone to the Irish one. My school Irish is very rusty so I am relying on the translation!


    • Thank you Karina, As I said above to Donna, aka Create-a-holic, it’s always tempting to write and write and write. I hope I find the balance between enough and not too much. I tend to hold back as I grew up being a ‘blurter’. A lovely natural change that came with age and experience (and regret for the things that passed over my lips without censoring!). The comments often lend themselves to being able to express to the depths I might have avoided in the article itself.
      The glass balls are fascinating aren’t they? Oh, how items like these make me resist plastic and styrofoam even more so. The things replaced by mass production of cheaper quality substitutes that do not stand the test of time brings me sadness to think about, but fear not! For I know where to find the happy place within myself. 😉
      Now I wonder…if there were no plastic and styrofoam and the glass balls were still in use, would we covet them as much or would our opinion be more likened to the protagonist in Máirtín Ó Direáin’s poem?
      Have yourself a happy Friday, Melissa Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Murtagh's Meadow says:

        I think you find the balance perfectly – you have a way of tapping into your inner thoughts and putting them beautifully on paper (or screen). And there is another question probably warranting a post in itself – would we covet the glass balls if they were still in use? I think so?!? Happy Friday!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Donna George says:

    You are right Melissa, gratefulness helps to take our mind off the woes and on to the blessings. I have come to the believe happiness is contentment, aware that for many, it would make happiness sound boring.

    Sweet poem.
    Happy trails

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Greg says:

    Lovely post, Melissa. I, too, love the old glass floats – and most “old” things for that matter! lol

    I give you and Johnny kudos for teaching the kids about how the choices they make to express themselves effects, well, everything and everyone around them. I wish there were more glass half full folks in the world; it would be a much better place.

    Have a blessed weekend,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful post––so inspiring, as many of your posts are. You’re so right, so many people depend on others for their happiness when they should take on that responsibility for themselves. No one can make you happy if you’re not willing to be happy. The pictures and haiku are great. I learned something new too. I didn’t know glass orbs were used to keep nets afloat. Thanks for the information and inspiration. 😀 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sooo, I am curious what you discovered. Should let you comment first but I won’t 😀 !! I think it’s a lovely language but personally have trouble speaking it because of the German-like throaty sounds it uses so much. It’s not an English language sound so is very unnatural to me. Very sad that I did not take to learning it. I own every tape, book, dictionary, cd, and took many classes including a five day course on the mainland. I surrendered and just learn bits and bobs through my children now. Such a nice compliment, ‘rich post’ is. Thank you for that Sandra. Xx


  6. Pingback: RonovanWrites 79th #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Review | ronovanwrites

  7. Pingback: Photo Challenge Round Up – Happy | Wild Daffodil

    • It requires a new mindset, a way of thinking and looking at life that some people can’t wrap their head around. The good news, I think once you can, then you can! But you are right in using the word ‘want’. It’s a choice to see and feel the happy, it’s everywhere just as the sad and depressing is. I remember times when I was not so happy. Thankfully, I realized life is now, and way too short to not make the most of every moment. Sounds like you have too!


      • chef mimi says:

        I think I learned from my mother how not to be, because at age 88 she is still the most unhappy person alive in the world. It’s almost comical, and it’s not just her old age – she’s always been like that. Negative, cynical, unhappy.

        Liked by 1 person

        • My mother is very unhappy also, always has been. It’s sad to see, but perhaps why we choose happiness with such conviction. Keep smiling and so will I; it’s contagious, the kind of thing that’s good to spread around! 😀


          • I too have a mother who has always been unhappy and bitter, when I learnt about her extremely sad and difficult childhood I understood where it came from, but harder to see why she chose to hold on to it. As you say Melissa, it takes a change of mindset. She gave me a better childhood than she had had, still difficult but better than hers. I’m grateful for that.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: