The Ministry of Utmost Loneliness

 Photo by  Alex  on  Unsplash    [Image Description: A black and white photograph of a hallway interior with large windows from the ceiling to the floor. A ledge protrudes from the base of the windows and person sits in the background.]

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

[Image Description: A black and white photograph of a hallway interior with large windows from the ceiling to the floor. A ledge protrudes from the base of the windows and person sits in the background.]

If you were prone to bask

In silence, where the air whispered

Your name only like Emily

Dickinson in England,

You still would not have a clue,

Of nine million Dickinsons,

Like you, all lonely,

Poets not all among them,

Not all, eloquent, not all seeking

Loneliness, what then?

Then loneliness is a public affair,

Everyone wears her grief bare, their

Gaze piercing a birdsong

In midair, and it makes you wonder,

Does this country care?

Its government does, it grants everyone

A Ministry!* It shall ensure, no citizen forsaken

old age or young, they hang their sorrows,

Melt into days of love, barely stored

In brief sunlight before nights

Of deep snow, they shall play the piano

Beside the fireplace, sip the  

Bitterness of a wrinkled memory,

And thank for the warmth.

 

*According to a 2017 report published by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, more than nine million people in Britain often or always feel lonely. On 17 January, 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May, appointed a minister for loneliness. “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” May said.


Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee is a poet, writer, occasional translator and political science scholar. His poems have appeared in The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, World Literature Today, Rattle, Mudlark, and others. His first collection of poetry, Ghalib's Tomb and Other Poems (2013), was published by The London Magazine.