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  • Poem of the Day: The Trickle-Down Theory of Happiness
    Out of heaven, to bless the high places,   
    it falls on the penthouses, drizzling   
    at first, then a pelting allegro,
    and Dick and Jane skip to the terrace   
    and go boogieing through the azaleas,   
    while mommy and daddy come running   
    with pots and pans, glasses, and basins   
    and try to hold all of it up there,
    but no use, it's too much, it keeps coming,   
    and pours off the edges, down limestone
    to the pitchers and pails on the ground, where   
    delirious residents catch it,
    and bucket brigades get it moving   
    inside, until bathtubs are brimful,   
    but still it keeps coming, that shower   
    of silver in alleys and gutters,
    all pouring downhill to the sleazy   
    red brick, and the barefoot people   
    who romp in it, laughing, but never   
    take thought for tomorrow, all spinning   
    in a pleasure they catch for a moment;   
    so when Providence turns off the spigot   
    and the sky goes as dry as a prairie,
    then daddy looks down from the penthouse,   
    down to the streets, to the gutters,   
    and his heart goes out to his neighbors,   
    to the little folk thirsty for laughter,   
    and he prays in his boundless compassion:   
    on behalf of the world and its people   
    he demands of his God, give me more.

    Philip Appleman, "The Trickle-Down Theory of Happiness" from New and Selected Poems, 1956-1996. Copyright © 1996 by Phillip Appleman. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Arkansas Press,

    Source: Poetry (August 1983).

    Philip Appleman

    More poems by this author



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