Every month, I post one of my poems (paired with one of my pictures), sharing its origin and some of its essence. Here is my Poem & Pic of the Month for July 2015:
Together in Our Loneliness
by Patrick Bishop
The book store cafe is filled with people who sit alone,
wanting to connect as they sip Starbucks,
flipping through books they don't buy
drawn here, not just to read
They (we) clearly need to be with others,
even in their (our) loneliness
The older ones seem to know better
There is a group of women laughing and knitting
while their men scowl and play cribbage
How did this place become their social hangout?
What does it say about me that I find it odd?
The stories that fill the nearby bookcase
are as dead as the hearts of the lonely,
waiting for a kind, curious soul to pick them up
give them life
and lovingly go through their pages
reading their story
Like shelved books, the lonely sit and wait
The only clue to their saga, a non-descript cover
My heart breaks for the lonely, the unknown, the empty
The pages of their description outlining
pain, failure, not enough, unloved, suffering
They wrote their stories long, long ago
They've read the stories so many times
they've forgotten their authorship
settling for the first story that wrote itself down
believing it to be etched in stone
During my spring sabbatical, I made several trips to the Starbucks in Norton Shores (Muskegon) before heading up to Whitehall for a few days. It always struck me as interesting how many people were in the cafe at 2pm and the activites they were involved with. Quite a few folks, including myself, were there alone. That struck me as oddly ironic; many of us were there together in our loneliness. That said, there were always a couple groups of people too. They seemed to know connection was important and they didn't care where it happened.
This was taken in the Catskill Mountains in New York during one of my Enneagram conferences (fall 2014). I know the wolf is a pack animal, but they always strike me as loners within the pack system; alone but together. It seemed to fit the theme of the poem pretty well.
© 2015 by Patrick Bishop; all rights reserved.