As ghostly as a graveyard In the murky depths of night, His eyes are like extinguished fires, Long gone the gift of light.

A tortured spirit screams inside, Though outwardly he’s numb: This tragedy of broken dreams And nightmares yet to come.

Bereft of love and self-respect, Forbidding and forlorn, He turns his anger on himself And rues that he was born.

The poignancy is palpable Now hope and faith have gone. All progress has been sabotaged And just the clock ticks on.

He used to know self-confidence And practise self-control. The drive to thrive – not just survive – Once sparkled in his soul.

There was a time when self-esteem Stopped by and stayed a while, But that was in another world That withered with his smile.

The black clouds of despondency Cast anchor overhead, Now nothing seems worth anything And joie de vivre is dead.

Too fragile, oversensitive: Each failing keenly felt; He folded when he tried to play The hand that he was dealt.

Relationships disintegrated, Blessings turned to dust; His home and work lives shattered, Leaving solely self-disgust.

Mistakes were made – transgressions, fights – And he could not atone. The friends he had abandoned him To face his fate alone.

He stares at his reflection In the glass he can’t put down, Seeing nothing but subservience To sorrows that won’t drown.

That self-defeating shibboleth, 'I shan’t amount to much', Has greased the slope to calvary, With booze his noxious crutch.

He smoulders in the darkness, Deep in self-destructive thoughts, And wards off interactions With contemptuous retorts.

If only priests or doctors Could return him to his health, But nobody can save a wretch Who cannot help himself.

The prospect of redemption Perished many moons ago. The meltdown fed the maelstrom To the underworld below.

The remnants of self-medicated Mayhem swirl the void. A hopeful life worth living Has been wholly self-destroyed.