© by Mark Abel (b. 1948)

The Long Goodbye
Language: English 
You have exhausted me.
Sad half-truths, empty promises, 
blind alleys and vague shades of meaning; 
all shafts, now, of a fading light.
Its impression will soon dissolve
as late afternoon merges with the stucco plane
framing your Mona Lisa face.

I tried to understand, to probe;
shielded you from life’s storms,
given the doubt’s benefit.
For me, no gem could dazzle more.
But you will not meet me halfway,
can never meet me there.
You’ve too many stories to keep straight!

“She’s not going to change,” the analyst said,
wishing she was allowed to scream.
And, yes, I heard quite clearly 
but couldn’t do what should have been done.
I loved you too much. That is the whole truth.
Our flame could not be extinguished,
but I wish it had. It has burned us both.

Blame is ugly. I tried to stand away
but now must ask: “Why did you not let me go?
Our love was too far a reach for you,
and you knew it 
from the breathless start,
that rainy night in the pub down by the tracks.”

The cost was far more steep than you imagine.
Go. Go ahead! Cover your ears!

To forgive is divine, the poet wrote.
I am far from divine, but I will someday 
-- on the day you say you are sorry.


  • by Mark Abel (b. 1948), "The Long Goodbye", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Research team for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor] , Mark Abel

This text was added to the website: 2018-05-16
Line count: 32
Word count: 220