Multitude

A friend posted a poem.

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Solitude- by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

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I am lucky. I have those special few people in my life who sip with me from the glass of life’s gall. The aisles of pain are narrow indeed, but I have a few who take a deep breath and squeeze in beside me for the march.

I found this poem very timely. Is it strange that I find “Solitude” to be a hopeful and uplifting piece? Because I do. Today, for me, it’s not a rueful examination of how pain must be borne alone. Instead it’s a celebration of how mirth calls to mirth, joy to joy, pulsing life to life. It’s a reminder that, despite the sighs I’ve lost on the air, all I have to do is throw back my head and laugh. Laughing, I call laughter to me, and my world grows larger, louder, more boisterous and satisfying.

I worried for a time that I lost myself, that the love I had for myself and my life were gone, never to be found again. I worried that I’d become unlovable. The days slip by now, growing gradually warmer, slowly forcing spring’s living breath into the dead stillness of the long winter. On soft kitten’s feet, hope and love come stealing back.

I am happy. I am not where I want to be, but I am finally moving toward that place again. I can feel it anew, love throbbing in the air around me. Some of it is mine, and much of it is the love that’s out there for me in the universe. I am only as alone as I choose to be, and now I choose the multitude over solitude. I choose to open my heart again, to hold my head high, and to feel all of the hearts out there beating, hearts that share the rhythm of my own.

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