The lies I told to thwart a war,
the ills I ate to quell the roar,
the mask I wore to veil the slur:
A tribute to the way we were.
Voiceless pains, strained by habit's games,
bows and bends, pinned by amends.
God knows where I've been, what I've seen:
the sea of grief, a guilt unclean,
where new dust collects on top of old,
and a kindly touch, long grown cold.
And when he died, I barely cried,
Too well had I learnt to stem that tide.
Oh, what is it that we must fear
to make believe what should be sincere?
Is it the reflection we might see,
a truth too obscene, one we must flee?
Still, sadly, I tell coveted lies
and swallow the ills that I despise;
A mask that slips to show a face,
ugly and pocked from concealed disgrace:
A tribute to the way we were,
as new dust falls when it should stir.