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> > > All The Lonely People: an anthology by Plum Tree Books

All The Lonely People © Plum Tree Books

Niamh Clune, Founder of Plum Tree Books sent out a call across Facebook, announcing that she wanted to do an anthology on All The Lonely People... poems, art, prose focussing on the subject of loneliness. The response she got was overwhelming.

DAO has been given permission to publish a selection of the work. Below is a sampler of the outpourings of those willing to speak up, in the hope of raising awareness of loneliness and giving it voice.

Contributing authors, artists and photographers have come from all over the world. This is one of the beauties of social networking. It is possible to reach beyond social stigma and deeply touch other lives, forge amazing friendships and express the beauty inherent in having soul.

The anthology can be viewed online in full by clicking on the Plum Tree Books link at

The Forgotten Ones by Sue Lobo

They sit hunched up, in neat rows in front of the old television,
Without hearing, not listening & many without even any vision,
Wreathed in bony old wrinkles, bedroom slippers & old grey wool,
With Zimmer frames, sticks & wheelchairs, they either push or pull.
“My son´s a banker”, says an old lady with glowing unconcealed pride,
Another one says, “My granddaughter is going to be a beautiful bride”,
“My son is rich & he says that he is soon coming here to take me out”,
They all show off, they all compare & share their families & they all tout.
Between meds & meals of mush & salt less, fatless pap, they sit & wait,
Awaiting visiting times, the weekends, birthdays, Yule & any special date,
Awaiting the letter, the card, the invitation, the “Hello Dad, Hello Mum”,
But they sit & wait, in neat rows in front of the television & nothing comes.
Errant daughters, careless grandchildren, the forgetting, forgetful sons,
Busy families, with businesses, social lives & homes of their own to run,
Forgetting their old parents, old folk now hidden from view, locked away,
Those old ones, those forgotten ones, now they are there to wait, to stay.
They were once the carers of those who now do not care & do not come,
They were once the ones, to whom their loved ones would come & run,
They were once the ones, who cared & loved a lot without any exception,
And now they are the ones who are left alone & waiting in sad rejection.
But whatever goes by, they still sit & wait, expectantly watching the door,
Listening for those familiar warm footsteps crossing the cold echoing floor,
Convincing themselves & the others around them, that they´re not really alone,
“My son, my daughter, my grandchildren; are coming soon to take me back home”.©

A Strange Room by Steve Corn

A dream of kids, dogs, happy times, odd that a piece seems missing.
Awake and rested with a smile on my face.
What is this place, furnished in the lifeless brown of dead winter leaves?

A nightmare in a tiny upstairs studio, empty pockets, empty fridge, empty soul,
alone - no noises of breakfast, children waking, dogs scraping - only the sound of my breathing
and a tear hitting the lamp stand.

A dribble of memories seeps into my consciousness, misshapen like the contorted images of reality reflected in a fun-house mirror. The images appear only in charcoal shades, on smudged ivory paper, art from the hopeless, powerless depths that only bipolar minds can reach.

Empty minded sheep stole my partner's mind.
The philosopher was stoned as a heretic for daring to question the un Christ like dogma of their venom-
no mercy, no love, no empathy, no forgiveness, no guilt at splitting a family - only hate, greed , smugness; self satisfaction in destroying another evil one.

Ignorance and intolerance for a disease of biology that they shouted was proof of the Devil within me.
Ostracized , shunned, vilified, institutionalized, stripped naked - locked into a Lithium prison
making resistance futile.

Like a horror movie I was forced to watch them ransack, apportion and justify her vindictive destruction; looting the spoils of twenty-five years of my toil and love, auctioning away
my share of the family farm passed through generations - with smiles on their faces saying,
“tis a just punishment.” hearing the whisper from her lips, “ it would have been easier on us all
if he would have just died. in a drunken wreck.”

The destruction of my last refuge, the ability to escape into the green, vibrant beating heart of Nature, left me completely insane, confused, isolated. The only comfort left me was a film loop
of suicidal ideations in a strange, lonely, unfamiliar, brown room ©

Pangolin by Ampat Koshy

There is a crowd of strange faces here
I feel lost in
And wonder where is the other crowd of many eyes that will lessen
my loneliness
I never have  the solitude of the pangolin
in the green forest
where I can curl up into a ball
and my hard scales make spears of hurt bounce off
Catch me and put me in a zoo, my jail
here and feed me give me water
I am lonely
Can't you hear my cry for mate and children?
Because no tears limn my scaly anteater eyelids you think I'm not human?©

Isolation by Lynne E Blackwood

Isolation is a piece of toast gone cold in country air where none breathe, where birds are stone on stone walls, feet frozen, gripped in branches. Isolation is watching, from inside to the outer wall of defence in silence, waiting for a word, a kiss, an embrace, a fluttering of the skin, remembrance of being alive, but riven to the dead, now aware.

Father and his paintings in the gloom of drawn-in curtains as night pulls forward in time, a dark room painted in poor light where oils and canvas map out astronomical connections. A man lain prostrate in a large bed, smile wan and hope gone with the loss of child, despair sinking him into white sheets. A brave face they call it, unlike his culture, stiff upper lip they say, baton in hand, bulled boots shiny with power of military colonialism. He lays drowned in bedclothes, submersed by one woman’s rejection of his love, spurned by hatred of all things brown, all things made of spice and warmth.

Isolation is talking but not meaning, no connections made through airy words that spin in the amber dusk as dust on wind, smiles that hide pain inside and I see you now, and again, for the first and very last time, forever, this pained man broken asunder, flotsam thrown to crashing waves of desolate life. His smile, all love flowering on skin and every breath, but who are we?

Blood and flesh rest dried like parchment winter leaves by another, held in tentacles of hatred so strong, it claws our actions from the dirt floor, scrapes us along with deathly nails and drags us to a premature grave. Tom, and three weeks down waltzing with flow and ebb of glacial river water, as written before. “Don’t mourn me when I am gone. I will always be by your side,” as a kiss fell and two arms held my heart in closed love. Isolation is all loved ones gone, a ripping of fabric and I am clothed in the shreds of their past lives.©

The Unseen Me by Alice Alabaster

Love... My undying love...
Never given... Never taken... Useless...
Molting... Melting... Rotting...
Me... From the inside out...

Passion... My savage passion...
Never bridled... Never touched... Unexplored...
Raging... Seething... Burning...
Me... From the inside out...

Confusion... My controlling confusion...
Never masked... Never directed... Void...
Filling... Winding... Swallowing...
Me... From the inside out...

Silence... My deafening silence...
Never noticed... Never questioned... Denied...
Stealing... Demanding... Suffocating...
Me... From the inside out...

Sorrow... My overwhelming sorrow...
Never ending... Never waning... Infinite...
Killing... Burying... Eating...
Me... From the inside out...

Tears... My silent tears...
Never heard... Never seen... Non-existent...
Wailing... Lamenting... Destroying...
Me... From the inside out...

Death... My imminent death...
Never felt... Never missed... Unbereaved...
Waiting... Hunting... Stalking...
Me... From the inside out...©