The Alchemy of Joy

Sweep away any doubt
Trust your emotional acumen

Let the juices pour out
and overflow the narrow gauge

There is a challenge to
finding joy and holding it

The alchemist knows it is art
sprinkled with a little craft

Mixing an acid and a base
a metal and a nonmetal

A chemical reaction
with the desired product

There is a mystery to
making joy and holding it

Taking oil and water
and shaking them together

An ephemeral emulsion
beautiful in its brevity

There is a conundrum to
producing joy and holding it

It takes time
slowness and patience

Be the tender
of your own garden

Watch the supple plants grow
and hold that in your heart

/ / /

This poem was written in response to Wordle 49 from The Sunday Whirl.

31 thoughts on “The Alchemy of Joy

  1. This is lovely, Richard, one of those poems I will keep on an open tab for a while to reread and think again: How lovely.
    Aside from that, the words work particularly well and the structure of the poem suits the theme. You are the second person, in an hour, to whom I have said, this suits Joseph’s exercise for the next week.
    Clever use of ‘tender’. I need to think words through more carefully!


  2. Richard…good lesson here: We each have to be the tender of our own garden, can’t depend on others to tend it for us. And when the plants grow, we have to keep them tended…and that takes work. Well wordled!


    • Mary, thank you. It’s sometimes a hard lesson, that we must tend our own gardens – and cannot depend on others. It does take work. Thank you again for your thoughtful reply.



  3. Richard, you wrote about the alchemy of joy in a way that I’d like to have it. These lines are so lovely.

    Be the tender
    of your own garden

    Watch the supple plants grow
    and hold that in your heart


  4. You and I were on the look out for joy in our wordles today. “An ephemeral emulsion
    beautiful in its brevity.” seems in synch with the line you enjoyed in mine,”Spiritual acumen, not adrift but loosely held” .It is in your first line;I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head. Joy withers in fear and doubt. So let us sweep it away indeed.


  5. Somewhere I remember reading that you weren’t entirely pleased with this poem (and I suppose, in a sense, no poets are ever fully satisfied with their work), but I think it is delightful in its simplicity and powerful in its imagery. It brings me joy to savor it. Thank you!


    • MMT, thank you. I struggled with this one. I want it to say more. This one is definitely calling to me for revision. That said… I’m glad you liked it. I appreciate your kind and thoughtful words.



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