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Letter to Edgar Allan Poe - "Alone"

Piper Chaussee
Coalfield School
7th - 8th Grade

Dear Edgar Allan Poe,

Alone: having no one else present or near. For me, your poem “Alone” explained alone better than the dictionary. Being alone doesn’t always mean that you’re not near others. It is about feeling like you’re the only person who feels the way you do. Sometimes people don’t like the same thing, and when everyone else likes something different, you feel like everyone is standing in a safe place and you’re on the outside.

I don’t always like what other kids like; I don’t find sports invigorating, but I like to write and lose myself in books. Even with my friends I feel like I’m standing on the outside looking at them through glass, like there is a wall between us. Your work made me realize that I’m not the only one who feels alone sometimes. Sometimes I think that there is no one in the world that knows how I feel, like I’m in a crowd of people walking one direction and I’m pushing with everything to walk the other way, and that I’m alone even in a crowd. But then, I realize I can bring people into my world and help them find a shared passion that makes us want to run and sweat and try together. It’s about helping someone find that book that they like, the one that makes them feel like they can do anything, like they aren’t part of the world they live in. Sometimes I look at everyone smiling and laughing while they do what they love and I don’t know if I can ever be a part of that, but we both have things we love, and that gives me hope that we can share a world someday.

What I really enjoyed about your poem, though, is that aloneness is pain, and you were honest about it. You took your pain and you made it into something beautiful. You made it something that gave me hope that there are others that feel like me. When I read “and all I loved I loved alone,” I understood that just because I loved something that no one else loves, that doesn’t mean I should love it any less. As I read “From the sun that round me rolled in its autumn tint of gold,” I knew that just because I’m hurt, it doesn’t mean that I can’t live. Ever since I’ve read your poem, I don’t want to just write about how I felt as if the world was pushing me down, or how I was being left behind because I couldn’t drop my worries. I want to write about the world; I want to write about life. I want to see the world and breathe it all in, hold the memories close so I can find a way to express everything in words that make people’s hearts yearn. Your words changed the way I wrote.

Your words made me want to try to make the best of what was happening to me, like surviving my parents’ divorce, my house burning down, and middle school. I also felt like this poem related to me in another way. When I absorbed the words “From the lightning in the sky As it passed me flying by,” I felt like you were talking to me, like the words reached into my soul and pulled out something that was kept hidden and ignored for so long that the dust rose off of it and spilled into my eyes. I felt like I was sitting on the ground, so afraid to fly as everyone waves goodbye and moves on. I felt like I was stuck to the ground with my fears holding me down. When I read this, I realized that I needed to move my feet and jump into the world, be who I dreamed I would be when I was stuck to the ground.

“Alone” made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I can only say that I’m sorry no one ever showed you the people and dreams standing right next to you, trying so hard to reach out and help. I wish that someone had shown you how easy it would have been to break the glass that kept you from the world; the truth is that we make the glass, we let our fears and insecurities blur our vision, we let them drown out the voice of our heart. Thank you for helping me clear my eyes and break the glass.

Piper Chaussee