Wednesday, 17 December 2008


“Human beings love company even if it is only that of a small burning candle.” - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

This morning as I was walking to work I saw a street woman asleep on a bench. Her clothes were torn and dirty and she too looked as though she had not washed for many days. Her hair was unkempt and grey, tangled in heaps around her head, and although her face was worn and prematurely aged, I could tell it had once been beautiful. I could think of a hundred reasons why she had ended up in this state with all her belongings in a couple of bags and wearing all the clothes she possessed. Somehow, the reasons did not matter, what mattered was her solitary state in amongst the three million people of this city. Nobody to worry about her, none to talk to her, not a single person out there to love her? How does our modern society alienate some people like this? And yet, even the rest of us, with friends, family, loved ones, how often is it that we feel alone?


I wear my solitude like an old shirt,
Faded, almost threadbare,
But still possessing the comfort
Born of long habit.

I taste my solitary ways like a dragée,
Whose sugar coating beguiles
Unwary taste buds, till the
Enclosed almond turns bitter.

Alone, I hear my heart beating
Amplified like raindrops on tin roof,
Or an expert solo drummer,
Executing a cadenza.

My singularity is perfume of violets,
Intense and overwhelming;
But so soon evanescent:
The scented becoming scentless.

Why is loneliness such a dreadful
And unwelcome guest, when
For so long, solitude has been one’s
Most faithful companion?

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