The Ministry of Utmost Loneliness
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.