Billie Holliday, Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, Hermann Hesse, John Keats, Matsuo Basho, May Sarton, solitude
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.
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Good evening dVerse poets! The bar is now open and I look forward to your haibun this evening. It’s chilly but no snow at the moment in our part of the world. Draw up a chair close to the fireplace and read about solitude.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
We got a lot of snow yesterday and more is expected during the night… I think snow fits well with solitude.
I have to agree with you on that, Bjorn. I’m not that keen on being out in snow but I do love the silence, the muffled sounds and the stillness of a snowy landscape. When we lived in London, all we ever really got was lots of dirty slush but when it snows up here in Norfolk, it’s beautiful and perfect for being at peace with one’s thoughts..
Hi Kim, I’m just popping in right now to say what a wonderful prompt this is in case I don’t get a chance to participate. I love Brain Pickings and have found inspiration in her posts, too. Also, thank you for Keats AND Billie Holliday. 🙂
I’m glad you dropped by, Merril, and that you like the prompt. You can always come back tomorrow or the day after as it’s open until Sunday.
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Hi Kim….and all else! Lovely intro, Kim. I remember Steppenwolf, but not much else. Wrote a short haibun today for dverse. It’s too warm for winter here, and is leading to discontent.
Thank you, Jane, I’m so pleased you’ve joined us on Haibun Monday. Please send us some of your heat!
Thank you for hosting Kim. Let me put my haibun hat upon my haibun head, and see what haibun happens!?
Nice to see you at the bar this evening, Rob. There’s only an hour until my bedtime but I’ll be back bright and early to continue reading and commenting. your haibun hat reminds me of the sorting hat in Harry Potter!
Well Kim, I put on my Haibun Hat, and my thinking cap, and came up with a haibun entitled “Chimes of Twilight”. Hope you like it… 🙂
I’ll be over to read it in a while!
Hi Kim and All. I think your prompt will inspire me today. Most of the snow has melted over the weekend with the rising temperature. It’s pouring rain right now. Basho: so much said in so few words.
Than ks for joining us Jade. I look froward to your haibun. 🙂
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Lovely prompt, Kim. I’m off to bed early tonight , so I’ll be reading tomorrow.
me too! It’s been a busy day. I’ll be up with the lark, reading and commenting, so we might bump into each other on worldwide web. Night night!
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Hi Kim, hope you are warm and safe, your prompt today invokes deep emotions, Herman Hesse is a favourite of mine too. It’s the first day of the Lunar New Year here and soon we will be visiting with family and friends but its a quiet one with many away. from my haibun you will see how much i enjoyed my recent trip to New York City and still thinking about it. Happy hosting!
Hi Gina! I’m shivering in my little study and ready for bed, where I’m sure I’ll warm up with the cats and my book! How lovely that you are visiting with friends and family, and I’m glad you enjoyed your trip to New York. I hope that it has inspired some poems and we’ll get to read them.
snuggle deep Kim! lots of writing came out of that trip, poetry and prose, everyone’s going to be sick of me posting on it…LOL!
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Charmed Chaos said:
Hello Kim- Life is amazing. Your prompt came at the perfect time. I wrote about my experience this morning.
Hi Linda! I love it when that happens! I’m just about to go to bed but will be back early in the morning to read and comment.
Charmed Chaos said:
Thank you, Linda!
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Hi Kim, thanks for the prompt. I agree with you and Bjorn on snow, we had quite a cold snap here, but little snow with it, and today is freakishly warm. So I wrote a little some thing but it’s not a haibun. So I’ll not put it on my linky, but if anyone want to read it, it’s here: https://erbiage.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/wretched-solitude/
Thank you Eric, and thanks for sharing your little something! I’ll be over to read!
M. Oniker said:
Hi Kim, Brain Pickings is some wonderful stuff, been following it for years. Excellent prompt post! This whole haibun/prose poetry is new stuff for me, but that’s half the fun. Mine is posted, and now I can’t wait to go read the offerings of others.
Thank you for visiting and posting. I’m just about to start reading and commenting again this morning.
M. Oniker said:
Me too! And back atcha! I got sidetracked yesterday and wasn’t able to check out the other posts. And… I changed/corrected the typo of your name (from 888 to 881) 😀 I have to learn to clean my reading glasses.
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Kim, I added 2 haibun to Mr. Linky. I hope that more than one is ok. If it isn’t, would you please delete the first one?
The more the merrier, Jade!
Glenn Buttkus said:
I just realized that my link was faulty; please delete my first link. I hate it when that happens.
Glenn Buttkus said:
What a mess, my first link is still up, so fellow poets please go to the second link. The lesson learned for me is to always click on your own link immediately to, check it out.
Hi Glenn. Done. Thanks for linking up.
I think Grace has already fixed it while I’ve been asleep, Glenn. I’ll be along to read soon.
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Adriana Citlali Ramírez said:
It’s been a while since I joined Haibun Monday. I did today! Thanks for a nice prompt. I will do the rounds tomorrow —it is late in Norway, where I live.
So pleased to see you here, Adriana, and I’m delighted you enjoyed the prompt. I’m doing the rounds again this morning as it got too late for me too!
Frank Hubeny said:
I remember reading those novels by Hesse many years (decades) ago. I now wonder what was in them. I will have to read some of that again. Thanks for hosting, Kim!
The thing with rereading books you loved as a much younger person is that you come to them with more experience and a different outlook on life. A few times I’ve been disappointed. But not by Hesse.
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Henrietta Watson said:
Reblogged this on All About Writing and more.
Thank you kindly for the reblog, Henrietta!
Henrietta Watson said:
U are welcome
Sabio Lantz said:
We are both big fan’s of Hesse. Siddhartha, of course, but Narcissus und Goldmund spoke to me in incredible ways. Like you, I’ve done them in both languages but my German is much weaker now — replaced by Japanese. 2 years ago I ran into Hesse’s poems too. Interesting fellow. Thanx for the prompt.
Thanks for dropping by, Sabio.
Sorry Kim, I forgot to change the month on my first post to Mr. Linky. Please delete my first try. Thanks you.
Hi Dwight – it is done. Thanks for linking up.
My wife loves the solitude of the ocean. This one is for her!
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Robert D said:
What a timely prompt! I thought my poetic efforts were done for the day, but the prompt of solitude fit right in with reflections I had on the phone with a friend today. What a gift! Thank you for the thoughtful prompt! I’m looking forward to reading through some great poetry.
Thank you for joining us, Robert! I’ll be over to read you haibun shortly.
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Hi. I left my link but now I don’t see it (mr linky is new to me and so is haibun) 😊
Hi Ruth! Welcome to dVerse. If you click on Mr. Linky again, your name is there. It takes a minute for your link to show up in Mr. Linky.
Thanks, I did and it is!!
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V.J. Knutson said:
Hi all! I’m here late, and overtired, so will have to come back and check posting tomorrow. Foggy here in Texas, but warm.
You’re not late, V.J. I’ve already been to bed and got up again! The prompt is open until Sunday and I will keep coming back to read and comment. I look forward to your haibun.
V.J. Knutson said:
Thanks Kim. Good to know.
Jane Swanson said:
Sorry for the double post – I forgot what day it is – lost in my solitude on Lake Pontchartrain
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I don’t know how everyone manages to read and comment and write. You are all wonders in my eyes. Seattle still has snow on the ground from Sunday, which Is a wonder in itself, and sometimes solitude is a necessity.
I think you must have had our snow, Nora. It’s bitterly cold with just frost. Our garden sparkled with it this morning.
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I am very late with my humble offering. I took an early morning walk which inspired my poem.
I’ll pop over, read and comment before the prompt closes!