Upon first reading of the poem, I found myself instantly connected to the speaker. My entire life, I have been very introverted. As a child I was shy, often hiding behind my mother, and being an only child I spent a lot of time alone. Now, though many people cannot tell, I am still very introverted.
The thing I have always found most difficult about introversion is explaining that I enjoy solitude. To an outsider saying “I like being alone” seems sad and lonely, yet I tirelessly tried to explain to my friends it’s not that I don’t want to spend time with you, I just want to be alone.
Just as my friends view my solitary nature, art often depicts being alone as loneliness. Pilkington’s poem captures my experience with solitude perfectly. We can be contentedly alone and enjoy life exactly as it is. Life does not need to be a tireless search for companionship or constantly changing experience.
From the hilarious first verse to the last line, the poem honestly describes humanity. It does not employ cliche devices or images or symbolize something much grander, it is simple and real. Though I value the entire poem, I find I relate to the third and fourth verses strongly. I love the third for its dry and witty sarcasm.
In the fourth I see myself. My room at home with its heavy door closed and rock posters on the wall feels just like a small studio that looks like Lou Reed. I have lived here for over ten years, but I do have plans of moving. In a few months I will be leaving the family, home, and state I have known for 18 years. The idea that I will be moving soon had not truly settled in until I read this poem.
The lines “...I can recite any street by heart to anyone who will listen.” make me think of the four year seniors at Tilton, myself included. On campus, we are a small group and can recall more than many teachers. We have lived in the neighborhood so long we can recite every metaphorical street.
Now, as the year comes to a close, we must all pack up and move away from the neighborhood we know so well, just like the last line of the poem, our melancholy departure is both happy and sad. After spending four years mastering the ‘streets’ of Tilton and enjoying the solitude of my small studio-apartment like room, I must change. As I venture out my familiar landscape, I do not know what lies where I will go.
Change does not often feel a welcoming embrace when it enters my life, but the changes I am about to embark on are of my own choosing. After spending 18 years in NH and four years at Tilton, the need for independence compels me to move on. Though I will lose the familiarity and sense of solitude I have built in my current life, I will find a new, different sense of solitude by leaving: independence. I may not live in the same room I always have with my ‘Lou Reed’ posters nor will I find the same familiarity in my new surroundings, but I will find something new. Though I detest the disruption of my daily routines, going out alone to discovers something new excites me. After 18 rather routine years, I actually find I need change, thus I must go. Unlike the speaker in Pilkington’s poem, I am no longer content with my life. For the first time in my life, I will welcome a giant change with open arms.