Shanta Acharya – Loneliness

Acharya LE P&W September 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing September 2023

Loneliness, poems by Shanta Acharya.


A work of art, covering the face of agony,
ecstasy is fleeting, not universally shared.

Love may have a way of outlasting us,
change is our true companion in life.

Doubt plays a key part: like a child enters my heart,
wrecks everything I place my faith in.

The hours rarely pass without tiredness making
an appearance like the Chorus in a Greek tragedy.

Why did I think it normal to crawl on the floor
of the ocean of exhaustion, hoping for redemption

or the sky to provide me asylum in her kingdom?
Looking for myself among stars that lie shattered,

having donated their everything to the universe,
I discover the true meaning of altruism.

Living in a state of vulnerability, hanging on
to the tree of life sucking hope, each day a triumph

of improvisation, I pray for the chronically fatigued.
When doctors talk of asthenia, thalassaemia, genes and more,

I am in an IMAX movie theatre, watching an unreal world
exploding at its seam. How does one get at the truth?

Single, female, first generation immigrant, no security,
intelligent, neurodivergent, born to be different.

Don’t they know that loneliness is a cramping
of the spirit for lack of companionship?

If only they knew the enterprise involved in finding
one’s way through this universe of unknowing?


Believing you might appear disguised, I wait
with my prairie-open mind, let time and life
scatter my unknowing somewhere between faith
and doubt, mocking my need only the sky’s emptiness
can fill, an emptiness where you should’ve been,
teaching me to trust the passing clouds whose breath mist
the looking-glass of belief. The higher I climb,
the poorer the visibility. Waiting for the dark to lift,
I sing in the half-light with insects of time passing,
seeking a sign, a mirror to see myself in, know who I am,
have been. Are there journeys without destinations,
pilgrimages that don’t lead to self-discovery?
Can faith enter the interstices of doubt,
find fertile soil to put down roots, flower in?

© Shanta Acharya

Shanta Acharya’s recent poetry collections are What Survives Is the Singing (2020), Imagine: New and Selected Poems (2017) and Dreams That Spell The Light (2010). Her doctoral study, The Influence of Indian Thought on Ralph Waldo Emerson, was published in 2001 and her novel, A World Elsewhere, in 2015. Her poems, reviews, and articles have featured in journals and anthologies, internationally. The author of seven poetry collections, her poems have been translated into several languages.

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