Monday, April 25, 2011

A Solitary Man - Reprise

"If we were not something more than unique human beings, if each one of us could really be done away with once and for all by a single bullet, storytelling would lose all purpose. But every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world's phenomena intersect, only once in this way and never again. That is why every man's story is important, eternal, sacred; that is why every man, as long as he lives and fulfills the will of nature, is wonderous, and worthy of every consideration. In each individual the spirit has become flesh, in each man the creation suffers, within each one a redeemer is nailed to the cross." - Hermann Hesse, Demian

Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth is a Bildungsroman by Hermann Hesse, first published in 1919; a prologue was added in 1960. Demian was first published under the pseudonym "Emil Sinclair", the name of the narrator of the story, but Hesse was later revealed to be the author.

Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877 – August 9, 1962) was a German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (also known as Magister Ludi), each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality.
I want you. But not you. I can't reconcile with your otherness. I miss you. I hate missing you. You are too different, not worth it. I will die without you. I hate that too. Not you. I don't hate you. I love you. I hate my need. I hate my shortness of breath. I hate my loss of balance. I eat too much, drink too much, play too hard, obsess too easily, show my panic too clearly, pull into solitude to simplify. I take all this to my guru, saying I wish to climb to heaven. He sends me back to you.

A Solitary Man

So solitary
In the mist, the snow, empty
Space, cold, cold, lonely.
I stand upright, still,
With my thorns out and waiting.
Who will dare touch me?
I've had quite enough.
I've withdrawn to this one spot,
This cold lonely spot,
Hoping I'll be safe.

If you come, be smooth, serene.
Don't startle me now.
No place left to go.
But I miss you, I miss you,
Brittle without you.

Written December 27, 2008 8:20 AM
First Posted April 18, 2009


  1. I like the words. Definitely the words of an older man though. A younger one would understand the concept of solitude as well.

  2. wow and love and bruise and more love is written all over all of this. i feel like a woman weaving a cloth with these threads and then i realize i am the cloth, then i am the thread, and then i am nothing at all.

    it occurs to me just now i feel old. and this is not a bad thing for i feel young too. but i feel old in that i see and in my seeing i stand beside you and put my arm around you like a brother, a sister self, a human, a touch of god himself.


  3. Erin, I gladly accept you standing beside me in all those capacities. Just for grins, you commented on this poem the first time too, though the context was a double poem post. You said,

    "I wonder if we're all looking to each other for healing. Your poetry makes me think so, if not god, then each other. Or is it all the same?" - April 19, 2009 5:55 PM

  4. a very interesting post... i love that poetry quote by Hesse. I am going to check it out.

    thanks for sharing this ~

  5. is it horrible that i like what i said? ha! so be it. 2009 eh? holy. imagine.


  6. "...With my thorns out and waiting" is worthy of Emily Dickinson, I think.
    Also, the sparse and 'thorny' look of a Ni Zan landscape comes to mind. See 'Rongxi Studio' and 'Sorrow While Traveling' at the bottom of the following page for example:

  7. I am trying to get it so you see the code and so I will email the code to you.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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