On Such Little Things Happiness Depends


You say, Stop singing, lean your head

on my shoulder, begin your own lullaby—


secret system of your voice like bubbling water,

divine manipulation of threads


woven through wind and kissed by stars,

secret pieces of news divulged to the night.


The black-crowned heron builds

his nest out of music by moonlight.


Coyotes march from great distances,

the door-keepers and sentries of the dark.


Magnolia blossoms as big as the cold

crystal moon lean down their sweet scent


and listen while the moth spreads

her brown wings and flies like a shadow


silent through the trees. Night after night

you sing your story to the stars


until you drop down exhausted on your bed

and your little dog lies down at your feet.

Some words borrowed and rearranged from “The Nightingale and the Rose,” Stories for Children,” by Oscar Wilde (original words verbatim as they appear in order in the story: “nest,” “on what little things does happiness depend,” “secrets of philosophy are mine” “night after night I have told his story to the stars,” “silent,” “spread her brown wings,” “passed through the grove like a shadow,” “built out of music by moonlight,” “voice like water bubbling,” “and the cold crystal moon leaned down and listened”) and from “The Use of Spies,” The Art of War, by Sun Tzu (original words verbatim as they appear in order in the chapter:   “marching them great distances,” “drop down exhausted in the highways,” “secret system,” “divine manipulation of the threads,” “cannot make certain of the truth,” “secret piece of news divulged,” “door-keepers and sentries”)

LISA STICE received a BA in English literature from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) and an MFA in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is a military wife who lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. She is the author of a full-length poetry collection, Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016). You can find out more about her and her publications on her website and on Facebook.