23 Poems Before I Turn 23: Alone

Poem number 5

Alone by Edgar Allan Poe

My love for the dark is no secret, so it was only befitting that I fell in love with Edgar Allan Poe’s work when I first came across him as an English Honors student in college. His Gothic style and chilling tales are scattered with chunks of gold that illuminate every word and every sentiment. I came across this particular poem when I read The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe a few years ago, although basking in candor I must admit I never could quite finish the mammoth book. I do plan to get back to it someday soon.

The Poem

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—

My Thoughts

This poem is one of my favorites because I can identify with it to an extent. It is no secret that Poe lead a difficult life, with his parents dying when he was three and being shrouded with financial difficulties throughout. He never could fit in and thus, is considered one of the great literary figures who brought about change in writing styles and literature. As is the case with those who bring about change and stand out, he never could get the recognition he deserved during his lifetime and it wasn’t until after his death that people discovered and valued his true greatness.

I thoroughly identify with the first half of the poem, for I too find myself unaffected by what seems to be loved and adored by the world around me. I have never really liked the mainstream; the things I have loved most have oft been gems I have discovered on my own, usually quite before any one I know knew about their existence. And every time the world has discovered something before me, I have usually found such a thing to be too overrated. I have been mocked and ridiculed over this trait of mine one too many times, but never have I given in. Sticks and stones. I have always stood for who I am and always will, no matter how bitter people get over it. It is quite hard for people to accept that unlike them, I am not a sheep that follows the herd regardless, for I march to the beat of my own drum. My passions can never be brought from the common spring.

I think Poe in the poem addresses how the storms and thunders of his childhood are the reason for who he has become. I love the way the poem ends with a hyphen, highlighting how so much is still unsaid and that the metaphors in the poem truly stand for something so much more. It feels as if the demons still haunt him when he dwells upon his past, as he struggles helplessly to make sense of it all.

15 days and 18 poems till my birthday!

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