The Man Who Lost Himself

The man who lost himself woke up one morning,
and realised he had lost himself. Well, perhaps not lost just ‘misplaced’ or ‘overlooked’
so he checked all the usual places he might be,
throwing back the rumpled covers
of his bed, but there was only an outline,
a vague impression. Later that evening
he looked for himself under his chair,
then tried to find himself reflected
in the eyes of passing people on the street.
It’s true, they all looked like himself,
but were clearly not. He tried
to remember, back-tracking over the week: writing a list, retracing
the movement of each day – to arrive
at the absolutely certain last place
he was before he lost himself.
It was frustrating, infuriating !
So he checked his wallet, then took off
his shoes, and shook them, peering at the soles;
he read the name on his credit cards,
and removed his jacket, and looked
at the label for a long time. Perhaps he had
deliberately hidden himself somewhere,
as one hides something valuable, but had
just concealed himself far too well?
Until, one day, while not even looking,
he found a note he had written to himself:
each word carefully underlined:
‘Just in case you forget the place
where you hide yourself,
you will find me in the garden,
behind the summer house,
in the rain, in the sunshine.
It’s been a long time, but I
am still waiting for you there’

John Jenkins

We read this poem in Group today at the Clinic as an illustration of Orientation, Dis-orientation and Re-orientation. It really moved the group and brought up many feelings for group members.


1 Can you identify with the predicament of the man who has lost himself?

2 If so where have you looked for yourself?

3 Can you say more about what you were looking for:

4 The man wrote a note to himself. Have you ever done this and what form did the note take? Was it written in a journal or was it etched in your memory?

5 What do you of the contradiction in the lines”
‘behind the summer house
in the rain, in the sunshine’

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2 comments

    • Thanks for getting in touch. Delighted the poem struck a cord with you. All the best Erin

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