Do You Know This Too?
by Herman Hesse
Do you know this too?
You are in the middle of a cheerful party,
when a sudden stillness takes hold of you,
and you hastily have to leave the happy hall.
Back in your bed you lay awake
like someone suffering from a sudden heartache.
the fun and laughter disappear like smoke
and you break into tears: do you know this too?
from The Seasons of the Soul
translated by Ludwig Max Fischer
Perhaps this Hesse poem sounds a little dramatic, and yet, I understand it completely. I've been telling people that I only have so many extrovert tokens per month and I've all but used them for December. And the holidays haven't even really begun yet.....
These days, I leave parties when I'm ready, and when I'm invited somewhere and feel I'm not able to go because I need to be alone, I very often decline.
When I've been too much with people, even those I love, those I adore, I sometimes come home and suffer from a difficult to describe heartache, though it's usually small these days. Usually. I'm better at managing this, partly because I accept that it's normal and that in some respects, it's good. It's just one of the ways the soul speaks and reminds us how beautiful it is to be fragile.
Afterwards, I sit up in bed and read something, often poetry. For a couple of weeks lately, I've turned to Mansfield Park, which I've read a few times in the past, but not for ages.
Our yard has filled up with snow and I find it soothing to look out at it. One's home is never quite so wonderful and cozy as it is in winter.
To end with a laugh: whenever I use the word cozy, this line in the Gwyneth Paltrow movie version of Emma comes to mind. What a cozy little house in the background! I have no idea why I'm so amused by this. But I am.