White Walls, Black Despair

White walls, black despair.
Never a soul to greet me there.
Eat and sleep and work the day,
Always solemn; never gay.

No where to go, no one to see,
No wondrous reason to be free.
Just eat and sleep and work again,
And stare out at the sullen rain.

Oh, if a friend would come to me,
I'd cease this hopeless agony,
But night and fog obscure my sky,
A dead man's shroud, an evil eye.

But night brings solace from the day,
Whose bitter stormy face be grey,
And dreaming, may I realize
The gaze in someone else's eyes.

But lo! The feeling disappears;
A hollow silence greets my ears.
The breath of dawn a taunting laugh,
The frosty morn an epitaph.

So eat and sleep and work again,
Music is my only friend,
But music grants me no relief.
Its hollow sound can't end my grief.

The hateful world's indifference,
To my brooding joylessness,
Is telling of the ways of man,
Each ship bound for a different land.

Those joyous heroes of yester-while,
Where are they now to make us smile?
They've gone towards a distant shore,
To glory, to glory, to nevermore.

So who shall care for those who weep,
Whose bitter tears deny them sleep,
Whose wisdom shall bring nought but pain,
An empty life that's lived in vain?

The sun shall rise and so shall set,
And so with age am I beset
With bitter gaze and greying hair,
A raving wretch in black despair.

Each bitter year, another tear,
And so the Reaper draweth near,
To break this joyless interlude,
And lift the curse of solitude.

Yes, eat and sleep and work until,
My bones crack and my mind is silt.
Black despair in white-walled room,
An empty life, a frigid tomb.

George Chadderdon © 1993