Greetings dVerse poets around the world. It’s Kim back again to host this February’s Haibun Monday.
I regularly read Brain Pickings by Maria Popova and a recent one had an article about Hermann Hesse on solitude. When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with Hermann Hesse and read his work avidly in German and English. I no longer have my copies of Steppenwolf, Siddhartha or The Glass Bead Game, but I still cherish a German edition of a collection of his poetry and prose about trees, some of which I have translated.
The article starts by describing how Hesse’s ideas about our human responsibility to ourselves and the world were expressed in his ‘Letter to a Young German’ and in his 1946 anthology If the War Goes On…, which was published the year he received the Nobel Prize, from both of which some of the quotations in the article were taken. My favourite quotation about solitude is:
‘Solitude is not chosen, any more than destiny is chosen. Solitude comes to us if we have within us the magic stone that attracts destiny.’
The article also refers to ‘Canticle 6’, a poem by May Sarton that was featured in a previous edition of Brain Pickings:
Another poem came to mind, ‘To Solitude’ by John Keats:
O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep, —
Nature’s observatory — whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
‘Mongst boughs pavilion’d, where the deer’s swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d,
Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
I also found a haiku by Matsuo Basho, Translated by Robert Hass:
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.
There are many poems on the theme of solitude but I thought I’d share ‘(in My) Solitude’ by the wonderful Billie Holliday:
For this week’s Haibun Monday, write about solitude: it could be meditative solitude, solitude in nature, or just plain old sitting alone in your room solitude. That’s up to you. But you should write no more than three tight paragraphs about solitude, followed by a traditional haiku that includes reference to a season.
If you are new, here’s how to join in:
- Write a haibun in response to the challenge.
- Read and comment on other poets’ work – we all come here to have our poems read.
- Please link back to dVerse from your site/blog.
- Comment and participate in our discussion below, if you like. We are a friendly bunch of poets.