adventures in dysthymia

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

AROUND THIS TIME, nine years ago, I was coming to the end of a major relationship in my life. Perhaps the major relationship (so far!). It was not at all a happy time for Steve.

But it was certainly a watershed in my life, for a variety of reasons I do not wish to explore nor enumerate right now. It also led to an outpouring of songs and poems, mostly sad, mostly bad. I do think the experience of writing them made me a 'real' poet (oh, there's part of that watershed thing). Nothing like practice (practically immersing myself, actually) to improve one's craft.

Anyway, I reckon I'm over it by now! Well, mostly. We're even friends on Face Book these days. Not that I would ever have been in a relationship with anyone I didn't like well enough to be and remain a friend.

One of the really bad songs I wrote shortly -- like a week or two, I think -- after the breakup was 'Sunshine and Shadow.' I pulled it out a few days ago and decided to attempt a rewrite. I'll be honest, rewriting a not-so-good song is a lot harder than creating a new one! I do think I've improved it from Truly Awful to Merely Mediocre.

SUNSHINE AND SHADOW

For a few days in my life,
all too brief a span,
One ray of sunshine fell upon
an empty, lonely man.
Heaven's light broke through my clouds,
as you took my hand,
showed me the way to happiness,
a stranger in that land

And there were summer nights I lay
beside you in the dark;
I would just listen to you breathe,
the beating of your heart.
I asked for little more from you,
but I hoped from the start
That our love might be forever,
that we would never part.

But you were sunshine, I was shadow,
now you shine no more;
And the sky is dark and empty
where we once would soar.
Only shadow has remained,
as it was before;
Sunshine, my Sunshine,
why do you shine no more?

We shared so many lovers' dreams,
all that we might do;
I wasn't one to hide my thoughts,
I'm sure you always knew
That if you asked me I would try
to give the world to you
And if you chose to go away
my heart would break in two.

I never sat and held you close,
as the sun rose from the sea;
There didn't seem to be enough
time for you and me.
What choice had I but to accept
that what must be will be?
I could not hold you anymore;
I set my Sunshine free.

For your were sunshine, I was shadow,
now you shine no more;
And the sky is dark and empty
where we once would soar.
Only shadow has remained,
as it was before;
Sunshine, my Sunshine,
why do you shine no more?

Stephen Brooke ©2001/2010

Would I ever perform -- much less record -- this song? It's doubtful, partly because over the past nine years I've recycled some of the phrases and ideas here in other pieces, and partly because I simply have better stuff.

Also, there's always the chance it would start me crying if I played it in public...it's just so darn sad!

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