Tidings of Despair

By Lalita

The day of New Years dawned fair and bright

Cheer was spread well through the night

But on my door, there came a knock

And so all other action stopped

I opened the door, a smile on my face

"Good eve to you! Happy New Years Day!"

The messenger looked at me with drooping eyes

And stating his message, he sighed and sighed

"I come today not to bear

Good wishes filled with love and care.

Nay, I've come to say to you

Things that turn your mood to blue.

I come not with happy heart

Nor do I come in search of a lark.

My good friend, I wish you well

Be prepared for what I'm to tell.

I come with a package of crimson hue,

Something to be returned to you."

Then the man withdrew a blade

And swung it towards me, his eyes full of rage

"While you eat a filling dinner

And have a tree that does not wither,

Others linger on the streets

Begging passerby for treats.

You wish well, but do not at all

To help the poor, the ones who crawl

The ones oblivious to a tender touch

Who with dreary lots are stuck.

Expect me not to understand

How you can call yourself a man!

A man so rich and yet so poor

Who can't spare a coin for beggars at the door.

While you rot in all your luck,

Pain is all that others have struck."

I held up my hands in sheer defense

This man wanted more than a pence

"Children cry out in the streets

Looking for friendly faces to greet,

And yet you folk just pass them by

Ignoring their hopeful, shining eyes.

I'm come to pay you back in full

With this knife, not sharp, but dull."

And then he cast the knife away

Too shocked to move, I heard him say,

"My good sir, I've made my peace.

I've laid the past to rest.

Now help those struggling with grief,

Your character's true test."

With eyes bright with unshed tears,

A face too long without a mirror,

The man went on along the road

Slowly, wearily he strode

And I heard myself call out,

"Stop! Come back!" was my shout

The man turned and met my gaze

Through the snowflakes' flurried haze

"You came bearing tidings of despair

And yet I find I do not care.

You've shown me what I need to know

So good fellow, please don't go."

I swallowed tightly, held open the way

The man grinned, but walked away

"Thank you, sir!" I called to the night

As the stars in the sky shone ever so bright