My mountain village,
To which I have abandoned hope
That any friend will come,
Would be a wretched place to live
Were it not for this sweet loneliness.
Saigyo, 12th c.
Like the previous poem, this one hits us with a little surprise at the end, one that demands our attention. Part of what Saigyo is doing is reflecting on the joy of solitude, but that is clearly not all that's involved. He lives in a "wretched place" where he longs for a visitor, but he has "abandoned hope" that anyone will show up. His solitude seems to be unchosen. He has no friend, so loneliness itself has become his companion, the one constant, reliable factor in his life.
Is it possible for a seemingly negative circumstance to become a source of "sweetness" in our lives, simply because of its constancy?