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Solitude (1)


Soaking it up

On a lone walk through the woods

Leaving the choice of direction to

Intuition and wise, willing feet

Taking my time to listen

Underneath my chattering mind

Deep within to a voice that’s too shy until

Everyone but the trees has gone


Solitude (2)


Scared to face the layers

Of boredom, fear, confusion, that

Loudly proclaim ‘we’re social animals!’

In the hope of avoiding

That meeting with self, soul, stillness

Up goes the volume on the TV

Don’t people get punished for serious crimes by

Enforced solitary confinement?


Solitude (3)


So it’s time to make (another) cup of tea

Over an hour, I’m sure, since the last

Let it brew for a few

It’s not like there’s any rush

They’re so busy you know

Under so much pressure

Debts and work and school meetings – but

Even just a phone call would sweeten my tea


Sadness (1)


So where are you?

Are you in my head? My heart?

Down in my stomach?

Now they all ache, weep, heave

Eyes made brighter like dew strewn petals

Shining, alive, reflective

Stretching me, heart and soul


Sadness (2)


So heavy I could fall

All the way through the nets of friendship

Deep into the drowning depths

No light, no air

Even the life that surrounds me

Seems silent and still down here

Soaked to my soul skin


So yes, I’ve inundated you a bit today, but following a walk and talk with a wise friend, I was encouraged to play with this acrostic challenge I’ve set myself a little more, and move beyond just positive words (there was a reason I started there, but more on that another time) to explore words assumed to be wholly negative, or indeed to explore a word that I personally have a spontaneously positive response to, then write it from another angle.


With solitude, I ended up writing three. The first is my immediate, most natural response. Solitude is a resoundingly positive word for me, as the poem shows. However, as a word it is of course far more rounded and complex than that. The second was an attempt to explore its more challenging side, but as I reread, it feels like more of a judgement of those who are not comfortable with being alone. The third was my attempt to genuinely feel into a situation where solitude is experienced as truly upsetting and difficult, and one I find no difficulty empathizing with.


With sadness I was already in a place of finding it an emotion that lays warmly and wholly somewhere central for me. No doubt if we were asked to divide emotions neatly in two, this would end up on the negative side. However, my experience of sadness is one of discomfort, yes, but also one of softness and connection, and one that is capable of making me feel as alive as joy, in the sense of it making me very aware of my heart and of my responsiveness to the world around me. I saw a beautiful film a while back, Inside Out, which explored the emotions as characters in the mind of a young girl experiencing a time of great change and challenge in her life. I remember reading in one review how the character of ‘sadness’ had been the reviewer’s personal favourite. So when I wrote the two sadness acrostics, that mixture and movement is what I was attempting to get across in the first, and the second was my attempt at writing it as wholly negative. Personally I find the first more interesting and more real/true.

If you’ve read this far…thanks very much!!! And as you’ve already proved your stamina and interest, do you fancy having a go at a solitude or sadness poem of your own, to explore your own responses to those words? I’d love to see them in the comments section.