no help for that

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

a space

and even during the
best moments
and
the greatest
times

we will know it

we will know it
more than
ever

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

and

we will wait
and
wait

in that
space.*

Charles Bukowski, 1986

Yes this poem is very sad but also redeems a clear lesson. I see myself and my friends striving and striving for things but once attained... the victory isn't as sweet as anticipated. A well-connected business friend who loves women (even more than most men) says: "for every beautiful woman out there, there is a man who she drives absolutely crazy - and that man is probably her husband". This is not only true for love, but for career and for the collection of posessions. The prize is not as sweet once it is won. Perhaps we are trying to fill some sort of space.

Instead of fighting to fill the space, the poem is about waiting within it. Charles Bukowski's grave stone is engraved with the two surprising words: "Don't Try"**. He thought it was more important to wait for the moment to be right before acting rather than forcing the situation. As a result, his poetry is not false or contrived, but expresses reality as closely as possible.

Bukowski had a difficult life but turned sad experiences that would make the average person bitter into clear lessons. The acceptance in the poem that the space will never be filled becomes a relief. He makes it as clear as possible that there will always be hunger and need even in the best circumstances - after all, even the rich cry. But, rather than struggling to fulfill the bottomless longing, Bukowski says to accept that "place" or "space" and patiently wait.

*Permission from Harper Collins requested June 2, 2005.
To see a picture, go here: http://smog.net/writers/bukowski/dont_try.php

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