An Introspective Tuesday

Solitude

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 shrink 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 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 many can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
 For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Having a rather introspective Tuesday today. "Solitude" is Ella Wheeler Wilcox's most famous poem. The idea for the poem came as she was traveling to Madison, Wisconsin, to attend the Governor's inaugural ball. On her way to the celebration, there was a young woman dressed in black sitting across the aisle from her. The woman was crying. Miss Wheeler sat next to her and sought to comfort her for the rest of the journey. When they arrived, the poet was so unhappy that she could barely attend the festivities. As she looked at her own face in the mirror, she suddenly recalled the sorrowful widow. It was at that moment she wrote the opening lines.
This poem speaks deeply about the need for empathy; to curb the tendency to gravitate towards only those in a happy and carefree time in their lives and have a seat next to someone suffering alone in an uncaring world. When we are strong, we are well-equipped to reach out a hand to those in the darkness. Someday we all will be alone sitting on a bench, waiting for that someone to come to our side.