Alcaics on Solitude

O Love! What are you? Tell me, am I to have
An answer to the question which still condemns
     My confidence, my inner pride to
          Languish in dungeons of Doubt and Ennui.

O Love! Where are you? Shall I entreat the stars
To fall, that one may land on my empty porch?
     It is as though I wait in prayer, a
          Cowering suppliant, Venus' beggar.

All birds and beasts, the animal world, it seems,
Need never ask these, nor need the men I see
     Around me who have loved, their psyches
          Gifted with affable disposition.

As I reflect on this in a sullen brood
The way is never brightened, the path to take,
     But falls in doubled shadows, darkly
          Smothering senses, obscuring vision.

To ask is often no guarantee to find
The answer, hunger no certainty to feed
     The palate. It is vain to nourish
          Need and Desire on airy ponderings.

Enough of this detestable pining drear!
I cannot know what Fate will allot to me,
     But I can see my many follies
          Tripping me up on my wayward journey.

These riddles' true solutions are not unknown
To me though I resist with a crotchety dread,
     And drag my feet at others' wisdom:
          Leaving the nest I may find the answers.

George Chadderdon © 1996