Daniel Brick

Gold Star - 75,252 Points (June 10,1947 / St. Paul MN)

A Man Alone - Poem by Daniel Brick

Once a man devoid of beliefs
suddenly realized what glory
was absent from his life:
'A miracle - ' he began, pulling
truth out of the common depths
of his mind. 'A miracle is anything
that increases your faith.' Pausing,
he smiled at his cleverness. Charming.

His two companions angled away
from him, puzzled by his words
but not enough to stay
within the circle of his silence.
Silence, he thought, is a deep well,
ancient and almost empty, but it still
makes an offer to one paying attention:
'Here, quench your thirst and rest.'

The man's thoughts, liquid, fleet,
weightless, unburdened by the drag of
doubt, unhurried by the lash of
faith, were poised between action
and non-action. He was ready
to proceed upon a path of his own
design, or to stay in that place of
awareness his senses found congenial.

He chose to proceed. Waving to his
departed friends with a smiling gesture
of dismissal, he took the first steps,
beyond silence and speech, into a newer
realm, whose rules and customs he would
learn. He might ascend a stage and shine
with his peculiar radiance, or remain
below in the fragrance of things,

stationary, yet growing. When servants
of the local ruler found him, the line of
his vision was just below the sun,
encompassing trees and shrubs, birds
and forest animals, workhorses and machines,
and people in their complex interplay of
emotions and reason. The servants declared
his survival a miracle, and he agreed ruefully.

Topic(s) of this poem: adventure, fantasy


Poet's Notes about The Poem

This is what I term a FORMAL POEM, and its development involves a high degree of abstraction. It is experimental in nature and I will not be offended it you find it too abstract, even lacking in the necessary sensory identity of lyric poetry. I wrote it deliberately
and steadily, without any hesitation as I moved through the five stanzas with unusual certainty. The individual sentences are aptly filled with imagery and specific details, but the movement between stanzas is measured. My aim was to reach and maintain a kind of STASIS, like Eliot's STILL POINT OF A TURNING WORLD. The central character is engaged in emotional issues but the verse which envelops him is decidedly reserved. In Milton's words, ALL PASSION SPENT.

Comments about A Man Alone by Daniel Brick

  • Cigeng Zhang (4/14/2016 9:00:00 PM)


    A deep poem. I need to read and reread it.

    Once a man devoid of beliefs
    suddenly realized what glory
    was absent from his life:
    'A miracle - ' he began, pulling
    truth out of the common depths
    of his mind. 'A miracle is anything
    that increases your faith.' Pausing,
    he smiled at his cleverness. Charming.

    What a thought-provoking lines at the beginning!
    (Report) Reply

    Daniel Brick (4/15/2016 12:14:00 PM)

    Yes, it's a puzzling poem to me as well. Sometimes, maybe a lot of the time, when I write a poem it contains a riddle or a mystery or an incompleteness that Imhave to finish later when I re-read it. I believe there is an extra dimension of poetry prose doesn; t have, that is, an irreducible element of mystery that always keep us excited, wondering, never bored.

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  • Nosheen Irfan (3/10/2016 12:45:00 AM)


    Life must be a balance between silence and speech, between action and non-action, between faith and skepticism. He might ascend a stage....or remain below in the fragrance of things...the choices are ours to make. The lonely protagonist proceeds into newer realms taking the reader along with him. Another enlightening read Daniel. Superb. (Report) Reply

  • (2/7/2016 1:02:00 PM)


    Always finding abstractions to be fulfilling in my own mind, I found this poem to be the same, enjoying reaching beyond the ordinary in life. There is still a sensory depth within that I find fascinating, it's quietly silent, approaching the divine. Enjoyed this poem, your layout was sublime, like a red carpet leading to the final climax. A miracle of sorts, because it seems this character although claiming that faith was too lashing, in the end found it had freed him from a life of stasis. In the end his emotions and feelings had no bearing on his quest for enlightenment through nature, but the miracle of life saved him.10++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Thank you for this very enlightening poem, Daniel! RoseAnn (Report) Reply

  • Liza Sudina (2/5/2016 10:40:00 PM)


    But a Miracle - is a Science,
    as the kabbalist Laitman says.
    And the letters are simply numbers.
    And with letters God world creates.

    Our mind is too low, too stupid
    to repeat and to understand.
    But a miracle - is like food and
    you may buy it by changing mind

    from your egoism to all-giving,
    to the altruism in your soul.
    God is 100% altruistic!
    Be like Him - and you'll change the world!
    (Report) Reply

  • Pamela Sinicrope (1/27/2016 4:59:00 PM)


    A man alone with his thoughts and poised for action... WAIT! More thoughts are required before action can occur... Maybe some conversation first with his other selves... AHHH! Now it's time for action... Maybe a walk along Dan's Path... As an introspective observer perhaps? This was a fun poem to read and think about. Really, a man alone is never alone if he can think, reason, and daydream....there were some poetic lines in there that sung out to me: circle of silence, fragrance of things, and thoughts on the meaning of faith and reason) .... (Report) Reply

    Daniel Brick (2/6/2016 2:47:00 AM)

    I had no idea where this poem would take me until I happened upon the middle stanza and suddenly the linePOISED BETWEEN ACTION AND NON-ACTION occured and rescued my writing. Thanks much! I like your observation that the path of ACTION could be a walk along Dan's Path. That's wonderful.

  • Kelly Kurt (1/27/2016 3:27:00 AM)


    I will have to read this several more times to see how my thoughts evolve. Presently, I have an empathy and feel a connection with the protagonist (Report) Reply

    Daniel Brick (1/27/2016 10:51:00 AM)

    i HAVE A CONNECTION WITH THE PROTAGONIST. Exactly, Kelly! You have encountered this protagonist in other poems I recently written and your reaction has been consistent. The poem JOHN OF KRONSTADT ends with a reference to THAT SOLITARY SOUL THAT WANDERS, BEREFT OF HOPE AND FAITH. You commented that SOLITARY SOUL is you! Me too. But the search goes on out of human need or curiosity or inner compulsion. The search itself is our human existence: where it takes
    us we'll know in the end, as a song in BLUES FOR ALLAH by Grateful Dead puts it.

  • Souren Mondal (1/27/2016 12:50:00 AM)


    Well this is one of your most abstract and intricate poem and deals with faith, fantasy, and a phantasom too.. A phantasm that is as much abstract as it is physical.

    The 'protagonist' of this narrative is apparently a person devoid of faith but he comes to an idea - a miracle will provide enough to believe.. From here he, the skeptic, moves into a journey - a journey that begins, if I am not very wrong, inside his own mind. Within the silence of his new-found contemplations - a CONCEPT of faith arises, and he begins to believe, or maybe, is enchanted by this CONCEPT - a possibility of a miracle - a non-believer embracing faith. But soon he comes to a point where he has to make a choice - either stay within the bubble of his perceived notions of new-found faith, or move along and put it to test - to find out if a miracle is possible. He chooses the latter - this, I assume, happens through the first four stanzas..

    But, what really perplexed me is the final stanza - or more aptly what happened between the first four stanzas and the final stanza..

    From the lines

    'When servants
    of the local ruler found him, the line of
    his vision was just below the sun, '

    I feel as if he went on a 'pilgrimage' to test his faith - maybe there were many hardships in that journey that he took - and in the end he might have met with some kind of accident - or maybe someone - a supernatural deity? A monster? NO ONE? ? ? - the possibilities are endless there..

    However, the end is upto interpretation - just like the entire poem -

    A personal who believes in miracles, or the possiblilities of a miracle might think - that his being alive is a miracle - that maybe he was helped in the course of his journey by some Angel that God sent for him..

    For a non-believer, it may just mean that the he tried to do something 'miraculous', risked his life, and in the end survived by sheer chance - just a sequence of events that could have gone horribly wrong on any other day, but went well that one day...

    Complicated, abstract, but very, very pleasing to read Daniel. Thank you very much for sharing this.. This poem is an artistic gem and AMEN to that!
    (Report) Reply

    Daniel Brick (1/27/2016 10:25:00 AM)

    You are so right in your explanation of this poem, Souren! Your paragraph beginning THE PROTAGONIST OF THIS NARRATIVE etc. is THE CLEAREST PROSE SUMMARY. The ending is ambiguous but that's because the poem is abstract: details and descriptions are necessarily withdrawn, that is, I did not even consider including them. Your paragraph FOR A NON-BELIEVER, IT MAY JUST MEAN etc. is perfect: it adds the very details that flesh out the abstract framework. I am gratified you were able to tease out the meaning so thoroughly and amazed too - the peculiar difficulties of abstract writing did not stall or confuse your interpretation. I worried that no one would GET this poem and almost did not post it. But such fears are unfounded with such readers like you. BRAVO, SOUREN!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 26, 2016



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