“In any of the burial-places of this city, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are in their innermost personality to me than I am to them?” Charles Dickens
Your world is not my world,
And my world is not yours,
Nor ever shall we span the void
Or open wide the doors.
What know I of the inner you,
The real – not that which seems?
I cannot think your midnight thoughts,
Or dream your troubled dreams.
We speak a different language,
A foreign tongue unknown,
And in the castles of our souls
We live for e’er alone.
Like ships upon uncharted seas,
We sail in silence by,
While in our holds, fast-batten’d down
Our secret cargoes lie.
Our compasses point randomly
Across the cavernous deeps,
Defying the powers of darkness
And the terrors that slowly creep.
It is not true, it never was,
That two can e’er be one;
For in our deepest hopes and needs
All men are islands strong.
(Except, perchance, the poet,
Who lays his feelings bare,
And sings his songs of Sixpences
For all the world to hear.
But signals can be hoisted,
‘Ere our ships sink to the grave,
And one, perhaps, who’s sailing by,
Will understand – and wave.
For oft I am Arabian,
Or Chinese, Greek or Scot,
And then within my inward soul
I feel mans’ common lot:
For in our fears and mortal needs
All men are brothers true:
Our dread of death and age and want
Kins infidel with Jew.
But talk not of our self-same roots,
Or universal cries;
‘Tis in the seeds of difference
Man’s greatness ever lies.
From Vignettes of childhood and other poems by Michael Thurstan Bassett (Amazon.com)