On Seeking Solitude

“O Solitude! If I must with thee dwell, Let it not be among the jumbled heap of murky buildings.” ~ John Keats

I will admit, for me, writing poetry is difficult. It is such an emotional form of writing; it contains, conveys and escapes emotion all at the same time.

This means I do not wake up early in the mornings, sit at my desk, rub palms of my hands together with glee, and think now I’m going to write a poem. It doesn’t happen, it never happens, and how great it would be to achieve this one day! Because great writers or accomplished artists do not wait for inspiration, right?

Well, I do not wait for inspiration but I’m no great writer. I rely on empathy. In order for me to capture a moment, emotion or whatever else makes a poem, I have to feel deeply. And there’s a lot (beautiful and ugly) to feel in the world we live in. It is this build-up of emotion that eventually leads me to write with urgency. The reward – a release, whether significant or subtle, makes it all worth it.

I’m sure you reckon that this feeling / empathy / emotion / release, delights and liberates yet exhausts. And so, when it all becomes too much, I seek solitude. Not so much to shut down the noise but to listen to my inner voice.

Note: Thank you all who read me (whilst I took time out to breathe) for your understanding, support and kind comments. Much appreciated.

Sanaa Rizvi at Prompt Nights expresses this thought successfully “Rest is the sweet sauce of labour.”

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. I think each of is inspired in different ways when writing, luckily there are no rules (and if there were I still might break them). Curiously Keats would no doubt be even more put off by the murky buildings of today yet I often find inspiration there; however solitude is so good as well.

  2. Whistles!! Oh my Goodness Khaya 😀 this is such a beautifully poignant piece. I felt like you were pouring your heart out to me ❤? I have always admired your work as it comes directly from your heart 😀 Thank you so much for participating at Prompt Nights and for your constant love and support ❤?

    Lots of love,

  3. I can relate to how you feel – have empathy. Sometimes we need the respite from our emotions and spoken words. We each find it in our own way,,,

  4. Every word you’ve written and the sentiment you’ve expressed makes perfect sense to me. I deeply empathize; I understand from the depths of my soul … So, I suppose it would sound very trite of me to say, “Keep on keeping on,” but really you must. And it IS good to have you back! Cheers and blessings to you, my friend!

  5. Good writers – honest writers – just write – no rules..no rituals..no pleasing who they think they should please.. in my humble view it’s just getting the words out..for me (selfishly) but if someone else connects or can explain it to me – that’s the most special part – an honest post..i love it!

  6. Hi Oldegg, love the breaking of rules as I’m not one to stick with them too. But you raise a good point, there’s inspiration to be found in murky buildings. The murkier, the deeper one can go about wading. Thank you for reading.

  7. Hello dear Sanaa! I couldn’t help but come back, when I saw your inspiring prompt. 🙂 Thank you for reading and for such a humbling comment. I’m so happy you connected with my thoughts, I always imagine the reader when I write and hope that they can make sense of my incoherent talk.♥♥

  8. Hello dear friend! I know you understand, I certainly feel empathy in your writing, and dare confess that I aspire (novice I am) to learn from your powerful and authentic words. Thank you always for support, and blessings to you too. 🙂

  9. Thank you, Jae! You put it well, ‘no rules, no rituals, no pleasing’; love this. I call it burden or blessing of non-conformity. :-). And like you, I’m selfish as I write for me first!

  10. This is an excellent description of what poetry feels like. I think it has to be emotional or have an emotionally evocative tone for the reader to connect. Perhaps because it it hard, is one reasons why your poetry is so beautiful.

  11. We can’t force our souls (or pens). It’s just the way it is. We must write when the words are ready–I feel that the more we practice, even when not feeling it too deeply, the more “ready” moments we tend to get.

    Listen to your inner voice. Write her words. Tell her that it is all right to pen the bits that feel like they aren’t deep enough, for many times, they are… after they are re-birthed into the world.

    It’s so good to read you, dear Khaya. ♥

  12. Lovely to see you, Diana. And thank you for your kind comment. It’s always good to hear that a reader connects with my writing. Regarding that it has to be emotional or emotionally evocative I agree, perhaps because I don’t how else to write it without being that. I inhabit heads of my characters in fiction, and that’s why in poetry I try to find the heart, if that makes sense. 🙂

  13. Thank you for reading, dear Maga! I totally agree with this, “the more we practice, the more “ready” moments we tend to get”. Now, your mention of words being ‘re-birthed into the world.’ excites and scares me at the same time. 🙂 Something I had to learn fast and reconcile with; readers interpret poetry in different ways and not necessarily the way it was intended. Keep well, girl.♥♥

  14. I can’t remember who said it, but I think it is true, “That once we write something, it no longer belongs to us.” Readers will turn it into something they can understand, and perhaps relate to… That can be rather reassuring, and yes, scary…

  15. One of these days, we might have to hold an event where we share stories about the poems/tales, which people have misinterpreted and turned into things we rather not claim. I have a story or two to tell on the regard… some that made me angry, others sad, and a few that were so ridiculous that I still don’t know what to think.

  16. That’d be great to hear how others deal with this kind of experience. Because I still feel as if I wasn’t supposed to be hurt, angry and sad about the event that drove me to write that particular story to begin with. But that experience has powered other works. 🙂

  17. Very thoughtful essay on the writing process. I can definitely relate. I need to feel *something* in order to create poetry or prose, even (especially!) if the words are not autobiographical in the least. Sometimes I’ll just go with the feeling of being silly (always easy for me) or imagining up a character and wondering how they might express themselves and that’s enough to get me to touch fingertips to keyboard. Even if the end product isn’t quite up to my expectations, I look at it as practice, which is always a good thing, because I only get better that way. 🙂

  18. lol..I so get where your coming from…I was surprised anyone entered this week at all…given the option to rest 😀 XXX

  19. I am so sorry for being so late to comment as I’ve been doing a bit of travelling these days…ah…your words are meant to be felt Khaya…true and honest…love the Keats quote…

  20. Hi Rommy! I always found your poetry gentle and contemplative, and encouraging the reader to a reflective space. Even the ones you term ‘with the feeling of being silly’ certainly have a special feel. And yes, imagining how a character might feel is another effective way to get something down on paper. 🙂 In fact, when the poem is not autobiographical, fluidity of thoughts and words often surprise me. Thank you for reading!

  21. Thank you, Audrey for the visit and reading. There’s a saying, “A pen and a drop of ink make the world think.” Perhaps, it is this kind of responsibility that the pen often sulk in the corner. 🙂

  22. Hi Sumana! No worries, summer (assuming that you’re in summer) is best time for travel. I’m glad to see you around, and thank you for reading. 🙂

  23. Great to have you back Khaya…I am no poet but i love solitude and to listen to myself… in setswana our word for rest and get well is “go itheetsa”which means to listen to oneself

  24. Thank you, Afrika! Solitude is best for rest, contemplation and just be. I’m glad to hear you enjoy that too. 🙂

  25. I had no idea you’d been away Khaya, but believe me when I say, I’m truly glad you’re back. I loved this piece on solitude and the quote by Keats. It is always good to listen to your “inner voice” – especially when it’s saying the right things: things to uplift and soothe you! It opens up creativity too!

  26. It was a short break, Marie. Summer in this part of the world is short, and we try make most of it. So, I had to take a break from blogging, and just be. 🙂 Thank you for catching up on my posts. Much appreciated!

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