“Personally Acquainted,” a poem by J. William Lloyd

1845-1945, Clarence Lee Swartz, Egoism, Poetry / Monday, October 2nd, 2017

J. William Lloyd (1857 – 1940) was an individualist anarchist poet and author. The following poem was published in Georgia and Henry Replogle’s Egoism (1890), Vol.4 No.1, published in September, 1897.

Lloyd founded his magazine, The Free Comrade, which first ran from 1900 to 1902, which was edited by Clarence Lee Swartz. There he championed anarchism, free love, Whitman (“Our American Shakespeare, and greater than he”) and Edward Carpenter (“The greatest man of modern England”). In 1902 and 1904 were published his two utopian novels, The Natural Man: A Romance of the Golden Age and The Dwellers in Vale Sunrise: How They Got Together and Lived Happy Ever After. A Sequel to ‘The Natural Man,’ Being an Account of the Tribes of Him.

The Free Comrade resumed publication in a new series, which ran from 1910 to 1912. Lloyd now co-edited it with his friend Leonard D. Abbott, who financed its publication. Between the end of the original series and the beginning of the new, Lloyd had stopped considering himself a pure anarchist, indeed joining the Socialist Party (“I am still anarchistic in the essential sense…. the great need of Socialism is a stronger infusion of Anarchism….”). Meanwhile his friend Abbott had moved from socialism towards anarchism. They saw the new series “as an advocate of the juncture of the Anarchist and Socialist forces.”

Lloyd’s writings appeared in Benjamin Tucker’s Liberty; in Moses Harman’s anarchist and free love journal, Lucifer the Light Bearer; the anarchist and sex-radical newspaper Fair Play, and others.

He wrote hundreds of poems, many of which appeared in anarchist periodicals.

Personally Acquainted.

A man climbed up a mountain steep,
And far and near his eyeballs peep :
“O what seek you, my friend to find?”
“To find myself, ere I grow blind.”

A man went through a forest far,
He dug each root, he watched each star:—
“What seek you, man, in these to find?”
“To find myself, or I grow blind.”

A man went o’er a pathless plain
His brain had joy, his feet had pain :—
“If you had luck, what would you find?”
“Who finds himself cannot be blind.”

A man sat in the sun and thought;
His every whim his swift hands wrought:—
“What is it then, at last, you find?”
“I find myself, and am not blind.”

—J. Wm. LLOYD.

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