January 5: “Solitude”

It’s something they carry with them
                      – explorers  night shifts  seamen –
like a good pair of binoculars
or a camera case
                perfectly and deeply compartmented.
It has a quiet patina
that both absorbs and reflects
                           like a valuable instrument
                                                you have to sign for
 – contract with alone –
                     and at the end of the voyage
                                                          you get to keep.
Sometimes it’s very far away.
Sometimes so close
               at first you think the person next to you
is picking up  putting down
                                 a personal cup
                                    a book in another language
before you realise what
– when talk has moved off
                               leaning its arms
                                       on someone else’s table –
is being
handed to you.

— Caroline Caddy

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