Joe Dawson


Loneliness is a child of time, slow growing

And almost invisible to the naked eye, but

Look deeper and its roots may already be

Vigorous and waiting to strike. Loneliness

Has no smell, needs very little watering,

And when it comes to nutrition, it draws

Its energy from the air and from the clock.

Loneliness is a creeper whose habit it is

To cling and what it clings to it hurts. It is

A parasite, but more than that its foliage

Brings a darkness no less dispossessed

Than that of the grave. 'Why me?' A

Sufferer may ask. 'What have I done to

Cause so many people to withdraw from

My company?' But withdraw they have,

And were you to ask them why they too

Would be mightily pressured to furnish a

Sensible answer, save for the little matter

Of ageism perhaps. Loneliness is a hard

Thorn whose seeds are sown at birth and

Buried like acorns waiting to germinate,

And germinate they ultimately will.

Life is good and cheerfully moving along

When suddenly society's door slams shut

In your face. Loneliness has arrived and

With it isolation. You are no longer part of

The party, no longer to be included or

Thought of as a worthy invitee. Loneliness

Has bloomed and in that blooming a new

View of the world. A view from a room in

Which to sit and wait for a knock at the

Door that may never come. loneliness

One might say; is in flower.

Few people it seems recognise loneliness for

What it is, even family members may miss the

Vital signs. A lack of companionship, assuming

All is well, when far from it, all is not well, and

Overlooking entirely how even a short visit

Might weaken at least one link in a chain as

Vast as any across the ghostly shoulders of

Scrooge's partner Jacob Marley. For that is

how debilitating loneliness is, a burden that

Can so easily be relieved with a little love,

And a little precious regular company.

© Joseph G Dawson


  • Fay Slimm.

    A needed reminder to look closer at who nearby might be in that tragic
    situation - life-style busy-ness seems to fence off neighbours or simply acquaintances when time is of essence. An empathy shines through your lines here Joe in which your care leads readers to think more about the real challenge of loneliness. Thanks for this post.

    • Joe Dawson

      Thank you Fay, yes, it does no harm to raise a subject so easily overlooked in a busy world, the covid pandemic did much for sudden loneliness too. My thanks again. Joe

    • Laura🌻


      Your poem truly delineates what one experiences when they’re alone…especially the elderly. I’ve seen it with many in nursing homes. I saw it with my aunt when I was away for a few months. She’s so different now (for the better) that I’m with her. I’m so happy that I’m able to be with her.

      You’re spot on with your words…

      ‘loneliness is, a burden that
      Can so easily be relieved with a little love,
      And a little precious regular company.’

      Thank you for sharing.


      • Joe Dawson

        Good evening Laura, your aunt is a very good example. People need people, no one is an island, people, especially the elderly, fare so much better in company, brightening up and regaining the worth lost to loneliness. Loneliness should be classed as a disability. My thanks to you. Joe

      • Doggerel Dave

        I’ve never visualized you as a lonely person, Joe. Quite the contrary.
        In Western society (even without a lockdown) this would appear to be a widespread chronic problem without many solutions…
        It has to include some effort by the individual to get out of their situation themselves. I’m not underestimating the almost insurmountable difficulty of making contact with others when depressed as a result of the isolation.
        I live in an independent living situation for the aged. Small – a mere 22 units. We keep ourselves to ourselves generally but friendships do happen between individuals. However there’s one resident, obviously lonely, with whom a five minute conversation makes many residents (including myself), feel like we are interacting with a black hole which sucks all the fun out of life.….. What is to be done?

        • Joe Dawson

          You're right DD, I am not one of the lonely, too busy for that, but I do know a lot of people, young and old who are, and I wrote the above with them in mind. Loneliness is a chronic problem not helped by the recent lockdown, I visit people who have got so used to lockdown they don't go out much anymore preferring to keep to their garden and have grocery delivered. Yes, effort on the part of the lonely is needed, but wrenching them out of it not so easy, sometimes there is a fear, and trust comes into it too, 'What do you want knocking on my door?' Hard to reach a person who although lonely has got used to it, and as you've noticed don't always want to snap out of it. Family loneliness is a different thing, trust is mostly present and forgetfulness often the cause; phone calls or regular visits can help there. There are so many forms of loneliness and no one answer fits all, bit of a minefield, but a knock on a door can save a life and no reason not to keep an eye on a neighbour. What is to be done? I don't know, but I do know we all need each other, and as we seem to be living longer lives, all the more reason to shorten the life of loneliness, and as there's an app for everything these days perhaps a Loneliness app might prove a useful tool. Joe

          • Doggerel Dave

            Well you are certainly across the problem, Joe. Thanks for taking the time to lay it out for me.
            And I'm still terrified of bumping into the black hole man......
            Don't need to tell you how good the actual write is, do I?

          • Accidental Poet

            For many Joe, it's their comfort zone to be by themselves. And sometimes an individual might be afraid of talking to people they don't know. And if the elderly are suffering with Dementia or Alzheimer's they may not even understand why a stranger or neighbor is at their door. My Father is in the last stages of Alzheimer's or Dementia and has a lot of difficulty in everyday things. My Sister and I live with him, and still I see the loneliness in him. He's just turned 95 and all his friends have passed on. My Mother passed in 2008 and he still asks where she is. Loneliness, the disease that's still not medically acknowledged. Very well penned Joe.

            • Joe Dawson

              Thanks AP, so many ways to be lonely, lonely in a crowd, lonely due to loss, lonely due to illness... Hard to spot loneliness sometimes; pride gets in the way, self-respect and not wanting to be a nuisance has a price too . Alzheimer's or Dementia, lost friends to both, sorry to hear of your experience. Delicate business loneliness, often complex too, isolation made things worse for many, but at least it shone a light where light was needed, so there is hope of better recognition sometime soon. Thanks again. Joe

              • Accidental Poet

                All very true Joe. 🤔

              • Goldfinch60

                That little bit of love can relieve so much in us all.


                • Joe Dawson

                  caring and keeping an eye open - always a good idea. A little bit of love too, of such a value and at so little cost. Thanks Andy. Joe

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