In Praise of Solitude

In praise of solitude,
the antidote to effort.
In praise of the lengthening of mind,
like the trail of smoke behind a plane
that as a child I believed was the plane itself.

In praise of the aftermath of a day,
finally pulling into the home station
after speeding through so many landscapes,
so many languages.

In praise of stepping onto the platform
(this could be Krakow, or Copenhagen).
A melancholy tugs at my eyes,
surrounded by strangers, standing alone
with my small bag of essentials –
eyeglasses, pen, a picture of you.

I could disappear into this crowd, not a soul
would know where I was.
Find a café, take in a meal, a coffee,
write some words in my little book,
wait for one war to begin, another to end.

I miss myself. I spoke these words before my journey began.

In praise of solitude.
(I miss myself.)
All the actors of the world, all the stages,
all the refugee camps
that comprise whole cities, nation states under ragged tents
in motion, in motion.
So much commotion, the busy coexistence of realities.
Each of us is alone.

In praise of solitude,
where you can hear the voices of angels
whispering hopeful little love notes
and pulling on your earlobes
like children not yet disillusioned.

In praise of solitude
when you close your eyes and for a moment
feel what the earth must feel –
both loved and pummeled, like a mother –
or the dead just beyond our secret tree tunnel.

The child asked,
“Do they mind us running on top of them?”
Your answer was so gentle and true:
surely the dead must savor the patter of little feet,
the joyful noise of children,
just as the earth must savor our lovemaking, the music we make.

In praise of solitude.
In praise of the empty sky.
In praise of the empty heart
and the heartache of holding hope and despair in one hand.
In praise of the parents who soothe and sing
through warring nights,
storing up their own tears
in silent wells while children sleep.

In praise of kissing the earth’s cheeks,
left and right.
Of those who dare to jump off the train,
who wrestle the crazy drivers down,
who take away the keys
and free the dead from their cages.

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