joy (ii)


Jonathan Chan





even here,

at the quietest,

most private acre

within me, i feel the

bristling threat

of joy. stoic

and smug, scoffing

at the temporariness

of being

happy. it is an extremity,

joy, content in its own

fullness, yet so easily

aroused: tender light

breaking through

a sheltered walkway,

pink blossoms

brushing a forearm,

the glistening

glissando of a moving

snail, the leaves on water



the ragged force

of Beethoven’s

incantation: joy joy joy

joy joy. one must tire

of its persistence,

its flick of solar

logic, its frisson

of the soul. the

beatific swell demands

its attention. at

an appointed

moment, joy ceases

then flickers, like

a noiseless tune


on a mountaintop.









Jonathan Chan is a writer and editor.  Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore and educated at Cambridge and Yale Universities.  He is the author of the poetry collection going home (Landmark, 2022) and Managing Editor of  Jonathan Chan is online at



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