Despair is Her Stage

Where are you now, my prodigal bloom;
On what grey bank spread you your tears?
For you and I, it seems the years
Have further hopes of love entombed.

And yet I know those eyes are there
Tear-filled in some distant place,
And know I well that ashen face,
That beauteous banner of despair.

What new woes plague you, ravished waif?
What storm? What strife? What tyrant cruel
Do you cling to? Whose vanity tool
Have you become, my tragic maid?

My poor, hysteric prima donna,
What new house and what new stage
Now echo with your sorrow's rage?
What manic cup of belladonna

Now place you to your feeble lips
Like some pale farce of Socrates
While 'cross the gale-tormented seas
I see a line of sinking ships?

I've heard you sing your dolorous themes
And watched you play each part and scene:
Brunnhilde, Senta, Isolde.
All these you are, or so it seems.

But I know more, far more than most,
How frail you are compared to they
Whose proud Romantic roles you play.
How fearful, how alone and lost

You are, my timid spirit's twin.
And though our ways have parted far
I often feel as though you are
My sister, my own blood and kin.

But all the same, I cannot bear
To linger for the final chord,
So turn my eyes away, oh Lord,
And let another take my chair.

George Chadderdon © 2000