In high school, I was really into certain poets, including Carl Sandburg, T.S. Eliot, and
e. e. cummings. Somehow, much of their poetry seemed to fit my ‘loner’ state of mind.
After all, it was the 60s: Vietnam, protests, down with the establishment. It was ‘in’ to be a quiet, moody, outsider.
In short, I was lonely.
I had plenty of friends and I wouldn’t have told you I was lonely if you had asked. You can be lonely amidst a multitude of people.
This poem by e. e. cummings touched me as a teen. It still touches me now. (isn’t that an interesting metaphor – we talk of being affected emotionally as being ‘touched.’)
If you look carefully, it reads “a leaf falls” embedded in the word “loneliness”. It takes a master poet like cummings to say it that simply.
Loneliness is not just the absence of people in your life, it is the absence of heart-felt connections with those people. Loneliness is the worst when we are in pain. How many people suffer their pain in silence, like a falling leaf?
Meditation on a Falling Leaf
I will not fall to the ground like a dead leaf in autumn. When I am in pain, I will speak my pain to others. I will not ask them to carry my pain or relieve my pain, just to hear it and know about it.