On Love and Loneliness
I have walked down enough silent streets,
Lost in the shadows of my own consciousness,
Afraid to love lest I lose the fantasies
that never really came true,
Afraid to surrender lest I lose some control
that I never really wanted,
Glancing from left to right in hope that joy
and freedom would envelop me.
Loneliness became a gradual companion
when I had not really known him before
And choice terrified me lest I be
only like everyone else,
Which in truth was all I ever wanted to be.
To be myself should be nourishment enough,
according to the wise and self-contained,
But for me it never seemed so from childhood.
Neither was admiration or the embrace
of loving strangers.
It was not beauty I sought,
in some current cultural vogue,
But a heart which touched mine, captured mine,
clung to mine at its very core and drew me
as powerfully to love in turn.
Forever it seems I sought one to love
without a backlog of private hurt and pain.
Without the invading fog that would somehow
mar our love and make it human.
Such never came and I searched the books
that told me what rightfully should be mine.
As the time passed I feared I might not love at all.
And the nourishment not given in childhood
might be lost forever.
When I did not want to live without such love and
seemed incapable of enduring the pain others
I traded loneliness for love, fragile, feeble, afraid,
But locked in my will and my heart:
to see as well as to be seen,
to listen as well as to be heard.
Love was not what I had been told or
what others projected upon me,
But my private gift which promised
to grow every day,
And slowly the loneliness lifted
beyond anything money or power could buy.
Now I am a man among men, loving
far more rationally and willfully
than I knew could exist,
In the massive, enduring, most significant
struggle of all,
that of loneliness and love.
-author i wish i knew