Alone by Edgar Allan Poe

in blurtshorts •  2 months ago 


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—

Edgar Allan Poe

There are a few readings of this poem on the net. I'm not sure of the slow funereal pace - when I read it to myself, the second part tumbles out like rolling clouds, and speeds up to the final revelation.

I've never thought this poem was about loneliness and misery but about the uniqueness of one's personal perceptions. Other people really don't matter. Being alone is not the same as feeling lonely.

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Being alone is not the same as feeling lonely.

I've long thought that those who feel alone are frightened by the truth we are always alone, even in crowds. It is part of what makes us susceptible to illusions I suppose. In times past folks used magic and religions to explain away the mysteries that we stumble through, nowadays they use the science to pretend explanation for the vast unknown. Throw some labels on it as though it explains everything. As though it makes us safe to live as an immortal.

Both of your latest posts touched me, thank you. In the last one I had to smile as I personally identified with much of the framework regarding those who do certain things need those things. Sometimes when I write the things I do, it makes me sad that one such as I have to be the messenger. Surely there are those much more worthy of saying the things I say. Yet I suppose even those folks need help or I wouldn't find myself in turmoil by the doings of others who insist I must be part of their wars.

The above post about Alone is very personal as well. In recent decades I wonder a little more if the experience he describes above is as common for children as I assumed it was. I questioned it some even as a child (regarding others) as no one discussed it, even if I brought such topics up based on circumstances. Also told by many of those closest to me how different I was. Yet as I grow older, I wonder if many children are slid more easily than I believed into accepting the illusions that replace the natural perceptions we come into life with.

Being alone is not the same as feeling lonely.

I most often feel lonely when I'm around others. Rarely when I'm alone.

Poe wrote that when he was 20 - I read it in my teens - I had a single volume of Poe's collected works, was not so bulky as printed on wafer-thin paper.

I could not bring My passions from a common spring

I think that's the key phrase for me.

I suspect everyone goes through some childhood phase where they become aware of their awareness; I also assume many just speed through it. Maybe like falling asleep, most pass through the hypnagogic state without even noticing - others explore.

Our ability to pretend to be others assumes we all share the same consciousness - more accurately, we assume everyone else has the same consciousness as we do - we grow up to find this isn't necessarily true!

Surely there are those much more worthy of saying the things I say.

Nietzsche made a comment that "all philosophy is psychology", and one's own philosophy has to be articulated in one's own words - so your words are even more worthy than others, as they affect you deeply. Reversing the arrow, psychology becomes philosophy when such insights are articulated for others.

Thank you.