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.
I think I connect with this poem because so many of us blame our childhoods for who we are or why we turned out this way. Personally, I think we choose to be the people we are. Yes, our environment can shape our views of the world, but we can choose to re-shape those views into different ones.
On an emotional level, this poem resonates with me because I feel utterly alone when I read it. For me, it takes me to those darks moments, in childhood and adulthood, when I felt as if no one would ever get me. Those lonely times when I felt like I was weird and dark and scary for the visions I’d see, for the words I’d write, for the thoughts I’d think.
That’s the gift of a great writer–having the ability to transport the reader to the exact place you were at when you wrote your piece. I aspire to that sort of greatness.
If you’d like to read the poem online, follow this link.
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