"The Wanderer" moves from a lament about exile to an examination of what the experiences of both the exile and wise man teach them about life. The speakers express this wisdom in gnomic form. Nope, this doesn't mean that one of our speakers is actually a garden gnome. "Gnomic" means that the poem uses proverbs, little sayings or nuggets of wisdom. These proverbs, or "gnomes," are short statements presented as absolute truth, when, in fact, they are the popularly-held beliefs of a particular culture.
In "The Wanderer," the "truth" that gets repeated the most is that it's a good idea for a person to lock up his thoughts and emotions – and particularly his grief – deep inside himself. This wisdom comes from an Anglo-Saxon tradition called "stoicism." Yet, another thing the wise man knows is that happiness and life's joys are fleeting, that everything, including all of creation, passes away with time. This transience is mostly shown as a sad thing. At the end of the poem, however, the wise man suggests that a cure for this sorrow may be found in God, whose stability contrasts with the transience of creation.
The poem's suggestion about how to handle grief reflects a belief that communication should serve a purpose.
Wise people in "The Wanderer" are necessarily sad people.