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Solemn Insanity

by Ryuujin 

Posted: 08 March 2003
Word Count: 87
Summary: This is a very person poem, but i presume many other people have similar feelings. Its main theme is the solitude of the human condition and the need to over come it.

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The existence of humanity is one of solitude
But if this is so why do I feel so empty?
You would think that I would be used to it

But even with others the flaw exists
Burning, swelling inside to such a point as I long for contact
A touch of something like myself
Reminding me I am what they say I am
I am a man, I am human, I am alive

But yet I feel like a tortured animal
Always starved of what I crave
Satisfied in the moment
But at its end left unfulfilled

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 19:34 on 12 March 2003  Report this post
Ryuujin - For the moment I'd like to concentrate on 'Solemn Insanity'. There are thoughts and feelings here that have been themes of poetry down the centuries - loneliness, isolation - so there's no doubt that your theme is poetic. However, I feel it's expressed in a way that's too abstract. You need to tie in what you are saying with actual experience. This could be a recent meeting with someone, perhaps one in which there was not much rapport, so that the persona - the voice of the poem - has been made to feel more isolated than usual; or it could be a scene, say a view from a window, a landscape without figures. Obviously these are only two of the many things it could be. The incident or scene can be made up, but for your poem I rather think something real might be better. The view from a window, if that's what you chose, could be quite obliquely related to your existing poem. For example, I could imagine writing a few descriptive lines on the view from my window, which is a view of my garden. In a few lines I would describe the birch tree which is there, with a bird feeder on one of its lower branches, and two or three small birds competing for peanuts. Those lines could be followed up with your lines: 'The existence of humanity is one of solitude/But if this is so why do I feel so empty?'

It might work best if you were to use only part of the poem, two or three lines, and try to add a few descriptive lines before or after them. Then other lines in the poem could be tacked on to another experience or observation. It's possible to get more than one poem out of it.

Now this may not be in line with what you want the poem to be. But it might be worth trying even as an exercise, and you might be surprised at the result!

There's a poem by the American poet Adrienne Rich, which is too long to quote in full, but illustrates the kind of thing I'm talking about. It's a poem of self-reflection, but it's very vivid too. The title is 'Toward the Solstice' and in it she describes both the approach to the winter solstice and the approach to the summer solstice. Here are the first few lines:

The thirtieth of November.
Snow is starting to fall.
A peculiar silence is spreading
over the fields, the maple grove.

It is the thirtieth of May,
rain pours on ancient bushes, runs
down the youngest blade of grass.

I am trying to hold in one steady glance
all the parts of my life.

The little pictures of seasonal weather are followed by an abstract statement about her life. I know looking at a 'model' like this doesn't suit everybody. If it helps, fine. If not, just ignore it.

I'll look forward to your response.

Good wishes


Ryuujin at 20:15 on 12 March 2003  Report this post
Out of all the poems i have written recently this is probably my least favourite. I wrote this poem with the intent to write a poem which for me tends not to work very well.

As for your input it is very interesting. I have never condsidered taking my poetry in that type of direction.

The poem is based on a real situation but rather vaguely. At the time i wrote this poem i had not seen my other half for a long time due illness (on her part). So the poem was about me missing her and how even if i had contact in way of phone etc, i still longed for physical interaction. I then got into the fact that inside my mind im actually alone but still cant stand it and it evolved from there.

I will try doing what you say and ill be sure to let you know how it goes.

Thanks for the critical input, its something i have never had for my poetry before. everyone else tends to say "thats really good" or "its a bit depressing isn't it?"


James Graham at 11:14 on 16 March 2003  Report this post
I can understand what you say about writing a poem with the intent to write a poem. Might be just as well to leave this one meantime, I don't mean discard it but come back to it another time. I'll have a look at your other poem today and respond soon.


Agnieszka Ryk at 17:28 on 18 March 2003  Report this post
Matt - I think you agree that this poem is a bit weaker than light of life - I think it's 'point' or philosphy is just a bit less interesting or original. But I do like the way you tackle the big subjects head on - go on!! I think you can do it!!

James - it's certainly an interesting alternative to use the suggestions you make, but surely poetry can be purely abstract like this can't it, providing the speaker has powerful enought thoughts ?

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