When One has Lived a Long Time Alone

When one has lived a long time alone,
one refrains from swatting the fly
and lets him go, and one hesitates to strike
the mosquito, though more than willing to slap
the flesh under her, and one lifts the toad
from the pit too deep to hop out of
and carries him to the grass, without minding
the poisoned urine he slicks his body with,
and one envelops, in a towel, the swift
who fell down the chimney and knocks herself
against window glass and releases her outside
and watches her fly free, a life line flung at reality,
when one has lived a long time alone.

Galway Kinnell

11 thoughts on “When One has Lived a Long Time Alone”

  1. @The Individual Voice: Welcome to my blog! His appreciation for life is inspiring, yes?

    @HerrDakel: Happy New Year to you! And Welcome to my blog!

    @Ankur: Thank you!

    @Raatkiranii: So well-said!


  2. It’s something of a coincidence you should say that, Amuirin, if only because when I first read that poem it struck me I might have written a poem with a very similar theme if I weren’t so lazy that I’ve never bothered to write about the effects of living a long time alone on how we perceive other living things.


  3. That’s only the first stanza of this poem! It has 11 stanzas, each similar in length to this, each equally beautiful. I suggest you track down the whole thing …


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