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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

The Hermit is a poem by Charlene Groves, a blind woman from New Jersey whom I’d become fairly good friends with back in the mid-seventies. In addition to fixing broken music boxes, for which she had a strong affinity, she was also a writer of poems, stories and several science fiction novels.

A story that I especially remember about Charlene is that social services in my hometown would occasionally call her to help people who had become recently blind and were having to cope with this apparent setback. She said it took time but people in that situation need to learn a new way of seeing that is not so dependent on their eyes. Her observations about life were often both original and profound.

When I read this poem I am reminded of Rilke. And touched by awe.

The Hermit

I ramble through the day,
Running around in circles,
Only to come home with my shirt torn,
Because I tried to fly.
To come home smiling,
Because I’ve been touched by the sun,
Or some human kindness.
To come home light or heavy laden,
Laughing because I’ve been kissed by the rain.

I ramble through the day,
Occasionally stepping from routine,
To chase rainbows and justice,
Only to come home tired,
But wiser perhaps for my pain.

I fry potatoes in a pan,
Weeping because I can only mend books,
And not the crushed feather of a bird,
Or a person’s broken dreams.

Thus I ramble through the days,
Wasting time in society’s eye,
Flinging myself upon the earth,
Just to hear the grass grow,
Whistling a tune,
Teaching hurried children how to sing.
To come home caressed by twilight,
And sit alone in my room,
Touched by the remembrance,
Of a sad but beautiful melody.

C.F. Groves

Originally published at

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An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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