This is the lure, the dark pall of hot tears,
Wrenching out from my chest
Fear not: I’ve not forgotten what it is to feel
Only that I appear to feel too much.

And now, I give myself to that wave
Of black emotion, torpid grief at midnight
I want to weep and to wail, and surrender,
Surrender to the swirl of comfortable darkness
For my sadness becomes me, it is me,
And although I’ve made a show of keeping
My head up above the water
My struggling strokes go slow.

And I wonder, what it would be to
Finally go to sleep and forget
All this sweet blazing grief
It’s been like a drug to me
And I could stay curled in a swirl of
Awful oblivion, and not face the day
The streets full of hate
There are so many faces but I’m always
Alone. Where is my tribe?
Where are my people? Where did they go?
I need them to save me from myself
And the honeyed abyss.

But I know, as I lie alone
And regret every second thing I ever did
That only I can look to myself to pull
Me back up by the shoulders
And remind me of such wonders
That somehow even getting up and going out
Is a small and precious victory
That each breath tomorrow
Is a slap in the face to the shadow that
Sits behind me waiting, foul weather friend,
Watchful dirty fiend who bides his time
And waits, gorges on mistakes and holds
Out his gloved hand and invites me in
Oh, that I could never be lonely again,
He’s wicked and he’s tempting
But if I must walk alone, alone I will walk
I’ll shrug off the shadow, and make my
Own tribe, and never hide the sorrow
That lingers on like the notes of a distant
Song, because although I have been to hell
I’ve come back, and that makes me strong.


Rose Staveley-Wadham