Wednesday, 21 October 2020

The Wednesday Poem - The edge of despair

Better Times

The edge of despair.

Please eyelids, don't open today.

Spare me the light of the morning sun.

How can I face another day?

How can I try and smile?

Please legs, don't lift me from my bed.

Spare me the effort of raising myself.

How can I fool the world again?

How can I push back the tears?

Have a sip of tea and maybe, just maybe I'll try,

I can see the precipice but I know I can't fly,

I can hear the wolves behind me howling, cry,

But in the darkness, there is still a light. 

I stare into the abyss, feeling guilty,

I feel that there is already a part of me within it,

but it hasn't consumed me,

Apart from a voyeuristic guilt for daring to look.

Copyright 2020 Roger Tichborne

I am by nature a very up person. I have always managed to 'get through' by having something to do, a project to work on, a goal, a mission. Maybe I get one day a month where I feel a bit low, but I have great friends that I can always call on, always have a beer with, always go to football with, and without even knowing, they lift my spirits. I play music in a great rock and roll band and I write blogs, which helps straighten my thought process out. I play football, which gives my mind a total reset once or twice a week.

But the current covid world situation, with great nations run by clowns, liars and brigands is one that is totally alien to me. I cannot sit in a pub chatting with friends, I can't go and see live music in small clubs. Whereas in March and April, we could sit in the warm sun, the autumn has brought chill and despair. Worries mount. I could pretend its all Ok, but it's not. But then again, I could pretend it's all terrible, but strangely it's not that either. 

I feel like I'm on the edge of a precipice of despair, but it is not my despair, it is everyone else's. I have been having trouble getting my head around the situation, but I've realised that it is not me that is the problem. It is everyone else that worries me. Over the twelve years that I've written this blog, I've chronicled things that are simply not right. It always seems to be those at the very bottom that suffer. I'm not at the bottom, far from it, but as someone with a sense of humanity and compassion (or so I like to think), I cannot stand idly by and watch the great and the good sacrifice the elderly, the vulnerable and the financially impoverished on the alter of incompetence and heartlessness. 

There is nothing I can do. As a country we set ourselves on a journey, It is not one I wanted to take, where the destination has been sold as the promised land, but I suspect that like Moses most of us will have 40 years in the wilderness and perish long before we arrive. I no longer enjoy reading newspapers, as the days when we read well written articles penned by people who genuinely wanted to inform rather than opine has long gone. Almost the only thing I watch on TV is football (much to the despair of most of the rest of the family). When I watch the news I simply become agitated. Even the solace I would seek at Mass has been deprived as usually by the time I remember to book, all the seats in the covid restricted environment are taken. I am not a deeply religious person, but I've always found an hour or so in meditative contemplation is of huge benefit for my mental health. 

But, my wife and children are healthy, we have our dogs, we have our walks. I still play football on a Thursday. I am actually fine. I feel I shouldn't be. I feel like a fraud. But there are still plenty of good things. I learned a new song last night on the guitar. It felt good playing it. Tonight I will watch Manchester City, have a beer and maybe a glass of wine. The world may not be what we want at the moment, but it is still spinning. We may feel at the edge of despair, but there is a world of difference between being at the edge of despair and falling into the abyss. 

I have spoken to many friends who seem to have similar feelings, feelings of deep unease, but also detachment. Maybe I now know how people in far flung parts of England felt during the great plague, where they would see no effects but here tales of hell for travellers. As they drank their beer and carried on with their lives, wondering of the worst would arrive. But for most, it didn't.

Keep holding on. 

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