complete image

Suddenly I saw myself,
a complete image,
with an expression
rehearsed over the years.
I was a man of crystal
who reflected the world,
holding nothing back.
I saw myself different
from the other images
of me alive
in the mirror:
a [darker] shadow on my head,
a [deeper] abyss at my feet,
a [thicker] wood within me;
the unconsciousness of a plant,
obedient to the breeze,
a reed of solitude,
no longer thinking,
— earthly solitude,
my only company! —
I saw myself in a fleeting reflection,
looking from outside
at the being who lives within,
a masked recluse
in his wandering seclusion.

Jorge Carrera Andrade

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song to solitude

Sole of solitude and solitary and sole,
like the madman in the center of his madness,
I say what you have said to me
with the drowning voice of the sea in my ears,
made of ashes which sing.

I have heard your step, pastoral and naval,
of gazelle and anemone, falling across the time
of a dream woven by mutilated statues;
the lark dying under the snow,
the moss spelling life on the rock,
the harvest-fields of rain, the blind tunnel
which leads from the seed to the rose,
the beauty of the world, its greatest lamentation.
Conquered, I follow your frozen flame,
your deserted mirrors and your slow metals
which will never submit to the bells,
your footprint of burnt-out remain.

I do not know if you are the flesh or the bone of the fruit
of mystery and madness,
of the proud and awaited agony,
or if we are both dreaming ourselves
in the hurricane and in the sigh,
in the brief immensity of a blemish,
in that which I have wished for,
like water and fire in the blood,
like loves without forgetfulness.

I remember your repose of rain
falling over the sea.
Your anxiety of faithful ivy,
and of a little girl loved again.
I remember your pensive sorrows,
your dolorous joy, and your recumbent ecstasy
in my heart and in the morning stars.
Your pattern of cloud, unique and slow,
over a sky of sores; of useless weeping over pure death,
and a desolate hand in the immensity
of a body which yields itself.
You are not, I know, outside me, in the wind,
or in the farewell, the tomb or the defeat,
or in the snow which sometimes prolongs
the shadow of forgetfulness and the echo of nevermore.

Nor, when love was gone,
when a greater love had consumed me,
was she more part of me, her flesh and dream,
and her waking anxiety, and her blue,
sleepless grasp even became kissable.
And when suddenly all is sad,
because love comes complete,
as sad as if you had died,
ah! how close to me, [how] remote,
my dream in the homeland of dreams.

Already shadow less, with love, and without body,
in the clear fabric of silence,
which everything kisses into an enigma,
I remember myself after death.

The space where I taste and suffer
is a cascade of mourning of consoled stone
and a stain of damp on the wall.
And already I do not conceive of myself without being solitude itself
in the one time and place inside me.
Stony votive delirium of passion
where desire exists, unique and alone,
and love is terrible and eternal, and boundless.

You are the dull prolonged shout of the stone
against the living blood,
hurting its mystery of health and poppies.
Oh poesy! solitude and life,
first and eternal Eve,
who chops off
the hands of poor lovers?

I know my agonizing solitude,
sister of the dry myrtle and sleeping cupolas.
I know you are born like fire,
rubbing together two mysteries,
my dream and my skeleton.

Blood, tenaciously shed,
hears your ancient word,
seeking, solitude, your way.
When I die, if I ever know it,
I will be more in you, I will be your wheat,
your pulse and your inconsolable truth.
Oh poesy! solitude and death,
eternal and first Eve,
the sea is crying.

Solitude is not being alone with death
and being loved by her in life.
It is something sadder, dazzling and high;
it is to be alone with life.

Dying of thirst amid the seas,
your forms in my voice and other stars.
Solitude is in hope,
in triumph, in laughter and in the dance.

Luis Cardoza y Aragón

the loneliness of a traveler

Hoarse cries—
the monkey’s teeth appear white
the moon above the peak.

Enomoto Kikaku

force of nature

When the wind blows,
it proves transience —
the plantain leaves are torn;
is this the symbol of the world,
upon which men depend?

Saigyô

solitude

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion;
it is easy in solitude to live after our own;
but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps
with perfect sweetness
the independence of solitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson