I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world,
to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

4 November 2015

The Point of It

Now that I have attained
a measure of tranquility,
now that time has elapsed
and I come to some kind of terms
with the ongoing inescapable fact
of grief, and the equally intransigent
need to continue living my whole life, fully –

I’d like to talk to you of all that, discuss
the interesting aspects, this learning
to be alone and like it. We could mull it over
together, dwell on the complications,
end up having a laugh (as we often did).
That would be a good measure of tranquility,
wouldn't it? But the point is to manage alone.

Written in response to Poets United's Midweek Motif: Tranquility — but I lost internet connection for some time before being able to link to that prompt, so offer it for The Poetry Pantry #277 instead).


  1. Yes, that is the challenge and the lesson, to learn to be okay alone. Which we are, much as we might prefer not to be. I resonate with the coming to terms with the "ongoing inescapable fact of grief." Yes. Good one, my friend.

  2. Holding the head up high
    yours not someone elses
    (yes, good one, dear Rosemary)

  3. "But the point is to manage alone": Very well said. Wise and beautiful, in its theme and knowledge.

  4. That is indeed much harder however we should always be amenable to meeting new people and making friends whatever time of life. John Donne said something like that in his poem "No man is an Island".

  5. Managing alone - yes a skill we have to sit with though it does not always rest easy on our shoulders...perhaps writing is a midway route..we cannot replace those we have lost but we can reach out and try and 'say' to those who are willing to listen - a wise and perfectly on point poem..

  6. managing alone may seem tough, but you will have more freedom over the decisions. :)
    yes, we do come to a point where our outlook on life may change. i did, to take life more easy. (no choice, after a couple of stents in the heart arteries.)

  7. I conquered aloneness early in life when my family moved away but I stayed....I was happy in my skin until I married at 40...the happiness continues, but that aloneness that may come again will be different this time. No less easy, perhaps more difficult as grief will be there longer this time....this was such a heartfelt, beautiful poem....I really loved the discussion you are having within it.

  8. So wise and full of depth. Touched my heart!

    Lots of love,

  9. Oh that last line is so evocative... somewhere we find the strength to carry on ..make peace with the ache inside.

  10. Ah, the yearning to discuss something with one who is gone...but I think sometimes one may know the other so well and perhaps be able to have that conversation in one's head. (Smiles) And, yes, the point definitely is to be able to manage alone!

  11. such a frank point made here - the blankness of separation like a tabula rasa on which your last line is the first to be written!

  12. What a paradox, to finally manage all alone, and not have anyone to share that joy with.... becoming an Ouroborus almost...wonderful thought

  13. Wise words, Rosemary, but still we can talk and laugh too... :)

  14. A contemplative poem about the reality of loneliness and sometimes a door opens that we think has been nailed shut. An interesting take on tranquility.

  15. I do love this poem, my friend...I especially like the idea of wishing you could talk it over with Andrew........I think, if you do, he will hear you.

  16. I read about an 'old' woman whose husband had died, and when asked if she continued to talk to him, she said of course, we always talked together before he died, so why not now? It is a good question, and a very real part of learning to be alone....I was alone for five years, after my husband's death, it was not long enought to really learn to be alone. I wept everyday. It is a very hard lesson, so many of us have to learn, maybe again and again....I was told, to be "alone," is to be "all one." Good to think about when we are faced with the fact of being alone. I don't think we ever get over grief, but learn to accommodate it. Make a place for it. It is a part of life.

  17. Managing alone - I've done it all my life, independent little cuss. But have also learned to share and to ask for help and accept it. Balance...all is balance. And those who have gone, I still have conversations with them in my head because I knew them so well. Giving me the chance to ask, what would my papa do? And knowing right off, for example. Knowing my departed to another plane Peggie would say to me when I sorrow, kiss the back of your hand, hold it to your cheek and pretend it is me....and knowing somehow, that really will soothe.

    1. Thank you for sharing that. I love the back of the hand idea!

  18. It is a great fear, aloneness, yet like all of them we have to face it, shake hands and make peace. I think it is made all the harder when we have been blessed to have shared our life for so long with a wonderful husband, as you did. A very heartfelt poem, I felt it in my heart

  19. This has a wonderful down-to-earth mood to it ... which, I think, created a warm and approachable tone upon which to pin the subject of going on alone, after the passing of one's love. For those who have enjoyed a happy union, that is a very hard topic to contemplate. Thank you for sharing.

  20. It's hard for me to think about living alone. This gives me all the more reason to admire those who have to endure such loss and survival. Glad, that you have found enough strength and acceptance. I like the tone of your poem, it has an intimate, honest quality that makes me feel I know a very tender part of you.

  21. Even in this tranquility, we --I--converse with my dead--or maybe God through them or them through that of God. Yes. That is the point.

  22. A lovely reflection ~ you're not alone when you find comfort in the memories of loved ones.

  23. Managing alone is never an easy task, and it has a tendency to climb back inside on occasion. Eventually it can even become familiar. I agree with Jae, writing goes a long way with those senses and feelings. And helps that transition process. Love the soft tone in this poem. Like a quiet intimate conversation.