Well, who doesn’t have to come to terms with how isolated even the most social of us is? In this case it’s my recent encounter with the Steinbeck quote that provoked this poem; the phrase “trying to be less lonesome” kept skittering from one corner of my brain to the other. James Weldon Johnson’s “The Creation” and William Carlos Williams’s “Danse Russe” have long been sources of comfort and pleasure for me. Which is to say that they’ve made me feel “less lonesome.”
The Lonesome Animal
And God stepped out on space,
And he looked around and said:
I’ll make me a world.
--James Weldon Johnson
We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome.
…I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
"I am lonely, lonely.
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!"
--William Carlos Williams
So it comes down to us from this God who
got shazzamed into the universe and who
lost interest in playing with lightning
bolts and designing giraffes and beetles--
this God who sounded out lone-ly to describe
the hitch in his pulse, his hunger for food
he’d never tasted, his restless eyes scanning
paradise and finding it somehow lacking--
this God whose feet kept tripping him up
with dance moves, this God who wanted to touch
something that would touch back, this God who wept
when wolves and coyotes answered him with sounds
that shivered his bones. And then this God got it!
Lone-ly meant alive. Lone-ly was divine.
© 2017 David Huddle
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF