Friday, February 1, 2013

Poetry Friday--Solitude

There's a short opening stanza of a poem by Galway Kinnell titled "There Are Things I Tell to No One," it goes:
1
There are things I tell to no one.
Those close to me might think
I was sad, and try to comfort me, or become sad themselves.
At such times I go off alone, in silence, as if listening for God.

In Galway Kinnell: Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin, 1982)
I find that stanza touching, and I can relate well. We all need solitude every once in a while.

Here are some other snippets from poets on the subject of solitude:

Patricia Neubauer:
down the hillpath
fallen leaves follow me
into the shadows

In Dreams Wander On, ed. by Robert Epstein (Modern English Tanka Press, 2011)

Jack Myers:
from "100%"

I'm great, 100%, when I'm left alone
and I don't have anything to do
or have to be anything for anyone,
and no one is measuring just how little
or maladjusted I've become.

In Blindsided (David R. Godine, 1993)




Mary Oliver:
from "One or Two Things"

3
The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
crow voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever,

In Dream Work (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986)

Walt Whitman:
"A Clear Midnight"

This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the
wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day
      erased, the
lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing,
      pondering the
themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.

In Leaves of Grass
Please visit Teaching Authors for today's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

--Diane

Photo by bendus.

7 comments:

Fats Suela from Gathering Books said...

Such beautiful excerpts! I enjoyed every single one of them perhaps because I take delight in solitude. John Milton said, "Solitude sometimes is best society." And Leonardo da Vinci claims that "if you are alone you belong entirely to yourself." Thank you for the lovely poems, Diane!! =)

Bridget Magee said...

I love the line from Jack Myers' poem:
"and I don't have anything to do
or have to be anything for anyone,"

I can relate to the emotion of wanting solitude for this very reason. Thanks for sharing these poems! =)

Andromeda Jazmon Sibley said...

I like Whitman's view of midnight. Puts a better light on sleeplessness!

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

I enjoyed all of these, as I, too, appreciate solitude (poets are required to love solitude as a requirement for maintaining our poetic license). Loved Whitman's, esepcially!

Travel Guides for Women said...


Viciously, then, I lock my door.
The gas-fire breathes. The wind outside
Ushers in evening rain. Once more
Uncontradicting solitude
Supports me on its giant palm;
And like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am.

--Phillip Larkin

a fave!

Diane Mayr said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments today, and for sharing a few quotes with us. I see that the subject of solitude is a good one!

Or simple snail, there cautiously/Unfolds, emerges, what I am. It doesn't get much better than that, Janet!

Mary Lee said...

Great collection -- thanks! I'm bookmarking this so I can go back later to each poem in its entirety.