As a deer thirsts for running water,
so thirsts my pride for approval.
My pride thirsts for recognition,
the admiration of others.
When shall I finally have it?
To be alone is to feel the weight
of my own insufficiency,
while I ponder the success of others,
“How have they done it?”
As my soul aches,
I remember every compliment:
“You are gifted.”
“You are brilliant.”
“There’s no one like you.”
But each kind word
is but a reminder
of my thirst for more.
O my pride, why do you hunger so,
why bow at this tedious altar?
To hope in approbation
is to feast on the wind—
a full mouth and empty stomach.
The admiration of others is a cruel master,
promising much, delivering little.
And yet I continue to chase it,
an addict hoping that once more
will be enough.
Recognition offers the fleeting warmth
of the sheets where the lover lay
before abandoning her beloved.
I say to approval:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do you provoke me so?
You give and take away;
you wound but never heal.
You taunt me all the day long
and mock me in the still quiet.”
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Because you worship at a tedious altar,
and exchange steadfast love for brutality.