Alone

Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe wrote the poem, “Alone,” when he was in his 20s but it was not published until 25 years after his death. It is easy to dismiss it as a bit of juvenilia, to say that all adolescents feel that way. It is a mere phase that we all pass through—but in Poe’s and other cases (I include myself here as an example) the feeling persists throughout life.

I recently read the book: The Outsider, by Colin Wilson, and he describes the phenomenon with several examples. Artist Vincent Van Gogh, the dancer Nijinsky, and Lawrence, subject of the film, Lawrence of Arabia, come to mind. Colin Wilson made quite a splash with the publication of this book but subsequent books met with critical backlash—to paraphrase T.S. Elliot, it was as if he achieved fame too quickly and had to be punished for it. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly agree with Wilson and his conclusions. There are innovators, visionaries, prophets, if you will, (and even, if you won’t) who are so far ahead of their times that their contributions aren’t understood until many years later, if at all. In the time of rapid change we are currently embroiled in, we need these innovative thinkers more than ever, but society seems determined to attack and suppress them. Therefore it is the new outsiders mission to cultivate and develop new ideas, but to be clandestine about it, and use strategies of stealth for survival.

Alone

By Edgar Allan Poe

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—

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