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Poems About Loneliness

Table of Contents

  1. Alone by Sara Teasdale
  2. On the Moor by Cale Young Rice
  3. "I Am Lonely" by George Eliot
  4. The Lost Hyacinth by Hannah Flagg Gould
  5. The Little Harebell by Anonymous
  6. December by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  7. Contrast by Emily Dickinson
  8. With a Flower by Emily Dickinson
  9. The Lesson by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  10. The Lonely Lion by Amos Russel Wells
  11. The Solitary by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott
  12. Home by Rupert Brooke
  13. The Hermit's Farewell by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  14. Tired by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  15. "Alone" by Edgar Allan Poe
  16. The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk by William Cowper
  17. Water Noises by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  18. Alone by Ruby Archer

  1. Alone

    by Sara Teasdale

    I am alone, in spite of love,
    In spite of all I take and give—
    In spite of all your tenderness,
    Sometimes I am not glad to live.

    I am alone, as though I stood
    On the highest peak of the tired gray world,
    About me only swirling snow,
    Above me, endless space unfurled;

    With earth hidden and heaven hidden,
    And only my own spirit's pride
    To keep me from the peace of those
    Who are not lonely, having died.

  2. On the Moor

    by Cale Young Rice

    I

    I met a child upon the moor
    A-wading down the heather;
    She put her hand into my own,
    We crossed the fields together.

    I led her to her father's door—
    A cottage midst the clover.
    I left her—and the world grew poor
    To me, a childless rover.

    II

    I met a maid upon the moor,
    The morrow was her wedding.
    Love lit her eyes with lovelier hues
    Than the eve-star was shedding.

    She looked a sweet good-bye to me,
    And o'er the stile went singing.
    Down all the lonely night I heard
    But bridal bells a-ringing.

    III

    I met a mother on the moor,
    By a new grave a-praying.
    The happy swallows in the blue
    Upon the winds were playing.

    "Would I were in his grave," I said,
    "And he beside her standing!"
    There was no heart to break if death
    For me had made demanding.

  3. "I Am Lonely"

    by George Eliot

    The world is great: the birds all fly from me,
    The stars are golden fruit upon a tree
    All out of reach: my little sister went,
    And I am lonely.

    The world is great: I tried to mount the hill
    Above the pines, where the light lies so still,
    But it rose higher: little Lisa went
    And I am lonely.

    The world is great: the wind comes rushing by.
    I wonder where it comes from; sea birds cry
    And hurt my heart: my little sister went,
    And I am lonely.

    The world is great: the people laugh and talk,
    And make loud holiday: how fast they walk!
    I'm lame, they push me: little Lisa went,
    And I am lonely.

  4. The Lost Hyacinth

    "'T is best for me, and best for thee
    That I should pass from sight,
    To be a while in loneliness,
    And hidden from the light.

    "For I should lose my greatest worth
    By being always here;
    Thou would'st not feel the joy thou hast
    To see me re-appear.

    – Hannah Flagg Gould
    The Lost Hyacinth
    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    My hyacinth, my hyacinth
    At length has come to light!
    And round the stalk and purple buds
    The leaves are green and bright!

    Renewed in beauty it has broke
    From out the crumbling earth;
    And, when I thought it dead and gone,
    It has another birth!

    My hyacinth! my hyacinth!
    At last I've found thee out.
    Oh! where hast thou been hid so long?
    What hast thou been about?

    "I've been," the little hermit said,
    "Within my lowly cell;
    And joy I've had in quiet there,
    That tongue can never tell.

    "In sweet communion with the power
    To which alone I trust,
    I've worshipped long at nature's shrine,
    Abased below the dust.

    "This upper world I find a scene
    Of peril, change and strife;
    And from seclusion I must draw
    My sweetest draught of life.

    "I would not live, if ever thus,
    Uncovered to the glare
    Of yonder sun, I must be brushed
    By ev'ry vagrant air.

    "'T is best for me, and best for thee
    That I should pass from sight,
    To be a while in loneliness,
    And hidden from the light.

    "For I should lose my greatest worth
    By being always here;
    Thou would'st not feel the joy thou hast
    To see me re-appear.

    "From calm and humble solitude
    My first attractions flow,
    And, but for these, I were but poor,
    Without a charm to show.

    "But I've come back to stand a while
    In beauty to thine eye;
    And when my flowers have gladdened thee,
    They'll be content to die.

    "And, while thy hyacinth her sweets
    Shall pour from every bell,
    Remember she her fragrance gained
    Within the lowly cell!"

  5. The Little Harebell

    by Anonymous

    "Tell me, little harebell,
    Are you lonely here.
    Blooming in the shadow
    On this rock so drear?"

    "Clinging to this bit of earth,
    As if in mid-air,
    With your sweet face turned to me,
    Looking strangely fair?"

    "Lady" said the harebell,
    Nodding low its head,
    "Though this spot seem dreary,
    Thought the sunlight's fled.

    "Know that I'm not lonely
    That I ne'er despair.
    God is in the shadow
    God is everywhere."

  6. December

    by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

    Only the sea intoning,
    Only the wainscot-mouse,
    Only the wild wind moaning
    Over the lonely house.

    Darkest of all Decembers
    Ever my life has known,
    Sitting here by the embers,
    Stunned and helpless, alone—

    Dreaming of two graves lying
    Out in the damp and chill:
    One where the buzzard, flying,
    Pauses at Malvern Hill;

    The other—alas! the pillows
    Of that uneasy bed
    Rise and fall with the billows
    Over our sailor's head.

    Theirs the heroic story —
    Died, by frigate and town!
    Theirs the Calm and the Glory,
    Theirs the Cross and the Crown.

    Mine to linger and languish
    Here by the wintry sea.
    Ah, faint heart! in thy anguish,
    What is there left to thee?

    Only the sea intoning,
    Only the wainscot-mouse,
    Only the wild wind moaning
    Over the lonely house.

  7. Contrast

    by Emily Dickinson

    A door just opened on a street —
    I, lost, was passing by —
    An instant's width of warmth disclosed,
    And wealth, and company.

    The door as sudden shut, and I,
    I, lost, was passing by, —
    Lost doubly, but by contrast most,
    Enlightening misery.

  8. With a Flower

    by Emily Dickinson

    I hide myself within my flower,
    That wearing on your breast,
    You, unsuspecting, wear me too —
    And angels know the rest.

    I hide myself within my flower,
    That, fading from your vase,
    You, unsuspecting, feel for me
    Almost a loneliness.

  9. The Lesson

    But at his smile I smiled in turn,
    And into my soul there came a ray:
    In trying to soothe another's woes
    Mine own had passed away.

    – Paul Laurence Dunbar
    The Lesson
    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    My cot was down by a cypress grove,
    And I sat by my window the whole night long,
    And heard well up from the deep dark wood
    A mocking-bird's passionate song.

    And I thought of myself so sad and lone,
    And my life's cold winter that knew no spring;
    Of my mind so weary and sick and wild,
    Of my heart too sad to sing.

    But e'en as I listened the mock-bird's song,
    A thought stole into my saddened heart,
    And I said, "I can cheer some other soul
    By a carol's simple art."

    For oft from the darkness of hearts and lives
    Come songs that brim with joy and light,
    As out of the gloom of the cypress grove
    The mocking-bird sings at night.

    So I sang a lay for a brother's ear
    In a strain to soothe his bleeding heart,
    And he smiled at the sound of my voice and lyre,
    Though mine was a feeble art.

    But at his smile I smiled in turn,
    And into my soul there came a ray:
    In trying to soothe another's woes
    Mine own had passed away.

  10. The Lonely Lion

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The lion was lonely;
    Said he, "There is only
    One way of driving this gloom from me:
    I must enter into society!"
    So he asked the beasts in a manner quite hearty,
    To come to his cave for a little party.
    On the appointed day,
    In a frightened way,
    A parrot flew over his head to say
    That the beasts would be happy the lion to greet,
    But they very much feared he was out of meat!
    "Alas!" the lion cried with a groan,
    And must I then live forever alone?"

  11. The Solitary

    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    Wonder not that tears and sorrow
    Wash my cheerful looks away;
    I from earth no wreath can borrow,—
    Lovely pilgrim of a day.

    I who once could dance with gladness,
    Joyful when the moon arose;
    The song and dance are turned to sadness,
    And my looks bespeak my woes.

    Once my parents both were living—
    Crown of all my joys below,—
    Wonder not such joys are riven,
    Wonder not my tears should flow.

    I have seen my mother dying,
    I have laid her in the tomb;
    Wonder not that I am sighing,
    Wonder not I'm fill'd with gloom.

    I have seen two sisters dying.
    I have laid them in the tomb;
    Wonder not that I am sighing,
    O'er such flowers nipt in their bloom.

    I have parted with another,—
    He to foreign lands hath gone,—
    He the only son; my brother,
    Now his absence I bemoan.

    I have seen my aged father,
    Bending to an adverse fate;
    Wonder not that I should gather
    Cypress leaves, and mourn of late.

    Tears befit my lonely hours,
    Tears of sorrow now may fall;
    Yet I own my better powers,
    See that God is all in all.

    Let us be kind;
    The way is long and lonely,
    And human hearts are asking for this blessing only—
    That we be kind.

    – W. Lomax Childress
    Let Us Be Kind
  12. Solitude

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Laugh, and the world laughs with you,
    Weep, and you weep alone;
    For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
    But has trouble enough of its own.

    Sing, and the hills will answer,
    Sigh, it is lost on the air;
    The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
    But shirk from voicing care.

    Rejoice and men will seek you;
    Grieve, and they turn and go;
    They want full measure of all your pleasure,
    But they do not need your woe.

    Be glad, and your friends are many;
    Be sad, and you lose them all,
    There are none to decline your nectar'd wine,
    But alone you must drink life's gall.

    Feast, and your halls are crowded;
    Fast, and the world goes by;
    Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
    But no man can help you die.

    There is room in the halls of pleasure
    For a large and lordly train,
    But one by one we must all file on
    Through the narrow aisle of pain.

    Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

    – Galations 6:2
    The Bible, NIV
  13. Ode on Solitude

    by Alexander Pope

    Happy the man, whose wish and care
    A few paternal acres bound,
    Content to breathe his native air,
    In his own ground.

    Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
    Whose flocks supply him with attire,
    Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
    In winter fire.

    Blest, who can unconcernedly find
    Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
    In health of body, peace of mind,
    Quiet by day,

    Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
    Together mixed; sweet recreation;
    And innocence, which most does please,
    With meditation.

    Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
    Thus unlamented let me die;
    Steal from the world, and not a stone
    Tell where I lie.

  14. Alone

    by James Russell Lowell

    From the close-shut windows gleams no spark,
    The night is chilly, the night is dark,
    The poplars shiver, the pine-trees moan,
    My hair by the autumn breeze is blown,
    Under thy window I sing alone,
    Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

    The darkness is pressing coldly around,
    The windows shake with a lonely sound,
    The stars are hid and the night is drear,
    The heart of silence throbs in thine ear,
    In thy chamber thou sittest alone,
    Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

    The world is happy, the world is wide.
    Kind hearts are beating on every side;
    Ah, why should we lie so coldly curled
    Alone in the shell of this great world?
    Why should we any more be alone?
    Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

    Oh, 'tis a bitter and dreary word,
    The saddest by man's ear ever heard!
    We each are young, we each have a heart,
    Why stand we ever coldly apart?
    Must we forever, then, be alone?
    Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

  15. Home

    by Rupert Brooke

    I came back late and tired last night
    Into my little room,
    To the long chair and the firelight
    And comfortable gloom.

    But as I entered softly in
    I saw a woman there,
    The line of neck and cheek and chin,
    The darkness of her hair,
    The form of one I did not know
    Sitting in my chair.

    I stood a moment fierce and still,
    Watching her neck and hair.
    I made a step to her; and saw
    That there was no one there.

    It was some trick of the firelight
    That made me see her there.
    It was a chance of shade and light
    And the cushion in the chair.

    Oh, all you happy over the earth,
    That night, how could I sleep?
    I lay and watched the lonely gloom;
    And watched the moonlight creep
    From wall to basin, round the room.
    All night I could not sleep.

  16. The Hermit's Farewell

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    Farewell, that sad and bitter word
    It stirs my soul to-night,
    As I sit crouching in my cave
    Above the faggot’s light;
    Strange, ghostly figures dance and flit
    Along the cold, damp walls;
    The black snake glares his drowsy eyes,
    And from his dungeon crawls.

    The toad croaks near my humble fire,
    Is loth to hop away,
    And knows that ne’er again for him
    Will I in ambush lay;
    The bats flit idly to and fro,
    The mice romp through my cell,
    And e’en the wind that moans without
    Repeats that word—farewell.

    I move, and think ’tis some weird dream
    Then mutter “’tis my brain;”
    For here around my throbbing brow
    Seems clamped a heavy chain,
    And like a prisoner doomed to die
    To-morrow at the stake,
    I count the hours as they fly,
    And dread the morning’s break.

    For friends will come to lead me forth,
    Through frescoed hall and room,
    To homes where kindred ties await;
    I fear the hermit’s doom.
    They’ve tempted me—I fain would rest
    Here on the dungeon mould,
    Than dream on beds where curtains swing
    With sunbeams in each fold.

    For beasts and birds and creeping things
    Have owned me as their guest,
    When man would turn me from his door
    With cruel word or jest;
    And as I served my scanty meal,
    In supplicating lays,
    The cricket and the katydid
    Would join my evening praise.

    God pitied me, my loneliness
    He made a sweet content;
    I found companions in the stars
    That from the heavens bent;
    His flowers were friends, the golden rod
    Smiled in its yellow hood,
    A sentinel about my door
    The purple thistle stood.

    But look! the morning’s amber hue
    Steals on the Easter skies,
    Farewell! farewell! when Death has closed
    These dim and longing eyes,
    In peace to slumber here entombed,
    Will be the boon I crave,
    And those who spurned The Hermit’s home
    Shall shun The Hermit’s grave.

  17. Tired

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    I am tired tonight, and something,
    The wind maybe, or the rain,
    Or the cry of a bird in the copse outside,
    Has brought back the past, and its pain.
    And I feel, as I sit here thinking,
    That the hand of a dead old June
    Has reached out hold of my heart's loose strings,
    And is drawing them up in tune.

    I am tired tonight, and I miss you,
    And long for you, love, through tears;
    And it seems but today that I saw you go—
    You, who have been gone for years.
    And I seem to be newly lonely—
    I, who am so much alone;
    And the strings of my heart are well in tune,
    But they have not the same old tone.

    I am tired; and that old sorrow
    Sweeps down the bed of my soul,
    As a turbulent river might suddenly break
    Away from a dam's control.
    It beareth a wreck on its bosom,
    A wreck with a snow-white sail,
    And the hand on my heart-strings thrums away,
    But they only respond with a wail.

  18. "Alone"

    by Edgar Allan Poe

    From childhood’s hour I have not been
    As others were—I have not seen
    As others saw—I could not bring
    My passions from a common spring—
    From the same source I have not taken
    My sorrow—I could not awaken
    My heart to joy at the same tone—
    And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
    Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
    Of a most stormy life—was drawn
    From ev’ry depth of good and ill
    The mystery which binds me still—
    From the torrent, or the fountain—
    From the red cliff of the mountain—
    From the sun that ’round me roll’d
    In its autumn tint of gold—
    From the lightning in the sky
    As it pass’d me flying by—
    From the thunder, and the storm—
    And the cloud that took the form
    (When the rest of Heaven was blue)
    Of a demon in my view—

  19. The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk

    by William Cowper

    I am monarch of all I survey;
    My right there is none to dispute;
    From the centre all round to the sea
    I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
    O Solitude! where are the charms
    That sages have seen in thy face?
    Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
    Than reign in this horrible place. ...

    I am out of humanity’s reach,
    I must finish my journey alone,
    Never hear the sweet music of speech;
    I start at the sound of my own.
    The beasts that roam over the plain
    My form with indifference see;
    They are so unacquainted with man,
    Their tameness is shocking to me.

    Society, Friendship, and Love
    Divinely bestow’d upon man,
    O, had I the wings of a dove
    How soon would I taste you again!
    My sorrows I then might assuage
    In the ways of religion and truth;
    Might learn from the wisdom of age,
    And be cheer’d by the sallies of youth.

    Ye winds that have made me your sport,
    Convey to this desolate shore
    Some cordial endearing report
    Of a land I shall visit no more:
    My friends, do they now and then send
    A wish or a thought after me?
    O tell me I yet have a friend,
    Though a friend I am never to see.

    How fleet is a glance of the mind!
    Compared with the speed of its flight,
    The tempest itself lags behind,
    And the swift-wingèd arrows of light.
    When I think of my own native land
    In a moment I seem to be there;
    But alas! recollection at hand
    Soon hurries me back to despair.

    But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
    The beast is laid down in his lair;
    Even here is a season of rest,
    And I to my cabin repair.
    There’s mercy in every place,
    And mercy, encouraging thought!
    Gives even affliction a grace
    And reconciles man to his lot.

  20. Water Noises

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    When I am playing by myself,
    And all the boys are lost around,
    Then I can hear the water go;
    It makes a little talking sound.

    Along the rocks below the tree,
    I see it ripple up and wink;
    And I can hear it saying on,
    "And do you think? And do you think?"

    A bug shoots by that snaps and ticks,
    And a bird flies up beside the tree
    To go into the sky to sing.
    I hear it say, "Killdee, killdee!"

    Or else a yellow cow comes down
    To splash a while and have a drink.
    But when she goes I still can hear
    The water say, "And do you think?"

  21. Alone

    by Ruby Archer

    For me the day is done,
    Though high the ardent sun;
    I feel the twilight gray.
    For you, my Love, are gone,
    My Sunlight and my Dawn,
    My Noon and all my Day.