I ASKED the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children
and a keg of beer and an

Analysis, meaning and summary of Carl Sandburg's poem Happiness


  1. sabapathy says:

    Profession and position won’t bring happiness. Until we decide to live in the moment, we can’t get happiness.

  2. Aashritha says:

    I think finding real happiness is making our dear one’s happy.Money doesn’t bring happiness making money not spending time with family is a major problem of not finding true happiness.

  3. Hilton says:

    This poem captures the essence of spiritually rich and blessed families. In a sick society it is good to take a snapshot of those that benefit from those that cling to good values. The instance of happiness under a tree, a keg of beer, an accordian, alongside a river transcends the materialistic economy. Material wealth does not ensure enduring happiness. Unless you have not experienced this you will not relate to meaning of Happiness by Carl Sandburg

  4. rhexa jane says:

    yes happiness is what we express when we are happy and what we fill when we are in our special someone..

  5. Randy says:

    Sandburg is simply saying: Happeness is relative. The Hungarians were just one example.

  6. Steve says:

    I think what Sandburg is really trying to say is that one cannot truly be happy unless one takes accordion lessons.

  7. ofelia austria says:

    happiness must not be asked to anyone cause it is a personal experience. in the poem, carl sandburg is trying to find answers of what happiness is, but in the end, he himself answered his own question.=)

  8. Elvie says:

    Yeah! Happiness must be experienced..

  9. jessexiang says:

    it is love, here, in this poem that keeps happiness on. cause’ love is nothing more to ask and nothing more to give.

  10. Lyannefe says:

    I read the poem Happiness and I recite it in the class. The poem expresses that Hapiness is gained through contentment.

  11. sam says:

    I say that this poem says that hppines is not somthing you could some up in a pome or letter its just thare

  12. Bettie Malofie says:

    I don’t work at “showing my ignorance.” Like everyone else here, I expressed an opinion, and if you think I am ignorant, please explain why you think so. We are all ignorant on something or other, and are not in that condition deliberately. If you are so smart (i.e., non-ignorant), show me why I should believe you.

  13. Reesa says:

    Oh, dear Bettie. Try not to show your ignorance.

  14. Bettie Malofie says:

    Nice poem, I could see where it was going – until I read “Hungarians and THEIR women and children” Ugh. Women and children can’t be Hungarians? Only Hungarian men are Hungarians? Couldn’t he just as easily have said, “Hungarians – men, women and children” etc.

  15. Jack says:

    “Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” Are these the essentials for happiness, or just for existence? The answer lies in the context. It was written down in the first century by a man named Paul to a younger man named Tim. It’s actually in the sixth chapter of the first book named after Tim in the King James English Bible. It’s interesting to look up. — Jack

  16. George Kloss says:

    The Des Plaines river is nothing much to look at. The people who lived around there with me were not famous or overly happy. But Carl Sandburg knows more than most and put it down so we could feel what most people never feel.

  17. Runnergirl716 says:

    I started reading this poem and I thought it was pretty good…I got confused. I guess he meant that happiness was in being with his children. Now that I say it, it makes more sense. Good poetry…I love Carl Sandburg’s THE FOG. It’s so cool!

  18. Katie says:

    I liked this poem because it shows that you can’t explain happiness. It’s whatever makes you feel good. You can ask a teacher of life what happiness is and their response could be totally different from what one of their students might say. Happiness is usually the simple things like being outside with your women and children playing the accordian.

    • IamrightarentI? says:

      What Carl is trying to say is
      To live in the present.
      Wisdom is earned by experience not through Education.
      Happiness is a feeling which isn’t earned by success, fame or wealth.
      It’s a feeling to share with your loved ones.
      The Hungarians showed him what the true meaning of happiness is.
      They showed him that happiness can be felt even when you don’t have the things you desire for, it’s just the memories you create
      With your loved ones,I.e, it could be even achieved by living a simple life.

  19. Kelsey Ward says:

    Hey i really like the poem and the reason is; is that it is true and it means a lot to many people that live around here and some who dont anyways I’m a poet and I think that he was a really great one love your poetry and well always remember someone like you in my prayers and forever.

  20. GENE GENE says:

    This poem is too true. Just think about it. Try to explain happiness

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