27 Mar 2013

The Bad Thing – John Wain

[1925–1994, English]

Sometimes just being alone seems the bad thing

Solitude can swell until it blocks the sun,
It hurts so much, even fear, even worrying
Over the past and future, get stifled. It has won,
You think; this is the bad thing, it is here.
Then sense comes; you go to sleep, or have
Some food, write a letter or work, get something clear.
Solitude shrinks; you are not all its slave.

Then you think: the bad thing inhabits yourself.
Just being alone is nothing; not pain, not balm.
Escape, into poem, into pub, wanting a friend
Is not avoiding the bad thing. The high shelf
Where you stacked the bad thing, hoping for calm,
Broke. It rolled down. It follows you to the end.

Source: Wain, J 1956, A Word Carved on a Sill, Routledge & K Paul.

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