The taste of liquor took away my father;
black bottle’s shroud shadowed his soul,
laid him to an early rest in a hoarded squalor.

Bag full of religion could not save him,
a thinning sight scraped flat from alcohol,
barely daring to breathe, rather grim.

Swallowed the booze, could not talk to,
he rode the feeling like a destitute
and scorned the tick of the poisonous brew.

A scowled age struck down my mother,
trolled her grave in golden slumber,
for thirty years she prayed to be with my father.

He counted the time with god to a bother,
shrugged off the tongue lashings by fallen angels,
and scorned the sacramental wine from holy fathers.

O ransack the graves, anonymous alcoholics,
find another man who mangled his life,
you vampires are dirt searching for a holy bottle,
the dead are scared of you, apostolic.

A villanelle

73 comments on “Lament

  1. My father was an alcoholic. This poem brought up many childhood memories… Mostly trauma of being a daughter of an alcoholic father. You nailed it perfectly with this poem. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Silent Hour says:

    This is exceptional, Lance.

  3. You do more than touch on a sad truth, Lance, you paint it vividly with your words. I love the a-b-a rhyme scheme..Excellent!

  4. abenteuer50 says:

    a sad topic,
    very well written
    many greetings mona

  5. beatrice841129783 says:

    Bonsoir Lances
    Un texte qui parle d’un mal profond écrit avec sensibilité et courage
    Douce soirée amitiés

  6. It is sorrowful topic the damage of alcohol does to a person. Best not to drink at all and enjoy life. It always amazes me how so often the wife wants to join her husband in the afterlife, surely they cannot believe the husband will be any different there than they were here. It is the demonic vampires who push their victims over to a point of no return. If only more knew of this would they ever take their first drink. Soul wrenching poem.

  7. crazywitch25 says:

    My mom was an alcoholic. She’s doing better and lives her dream of being on a farm. It’s a family sickness, as if affects every member of the household. I’m sure you know this. We enabled her, didn’t see her struggle or her feelings. She needed help. We wanted away from her and complained about what she did and said. However, I love my mommy. She used to be so mean and saved me by accident when the psychotronic people played her “sweet” voice in my head. I was like, my mommy is a bitch and would never say that. She is nice now, and I hope she stays that way.

  8. crazywitch25 says: here’s a song they use to catch their prey, the psychotronic people do. I don’t think they’re perfect either, especially since they’re hunting vulnerable people in the dark. I know you probably don’t believe me. Eventually, they’ll be caught and conquered.

  9. crazywitch25 says: this is what they’re doing. I can’t believe the FBI and CIA is letting this happen. Other countries are wiser past this little trick.

  10. A delicate subject well written

  11. inhiscare753 says:

    This definitely resonated with me. Wow 😮 your Poem captured a lot traumatic intensity, bringing back memories of the Abuse etc., suffered at the hands of an Alcoholic.
    On one of my earlier pieces titled “The Dark House.”

  12. The tragedy of an alcoholic is portrayed with all the grimness in this poem. It evokes a sense of despair from which the victim cannot escape….sad.

  13. Isha Garg says:

    Although ridden with piquancy, this is a masterpiece of writing. You’re such a gifted poet, Lance. The world should read you.

  14. Is it true that sufferings bring out the best in a creator?
    I remember vaguely of T.S Elliot saying such a thing.
    Is this poem of any particular form or structure the three lined format?

  15. Barbara Kasey Smith says:

    The images in this writing are desperations, alcoholism destroys minds, families, and wreaks havoc in this readers mind. Images are excellent Lance and I could actually feel the struggles of life contained therein. Barb:)

  16. MOMENTS says:

    I admire the mastery of words and imagery you have in all your poems, Lance. Alcoholism is always destructive of all human relationships as you very well disclose in your piece. I have not had an alcoholic parent, but have seen the devastating effects of this illness in my environment. I wrote about this in my post “Hawaiian Dolls”, which you already know. I feel our lives are always submerged in oceans with waves of illusions and delusions, of dreams and reality; two opposite yet complementary and, therefore, necessary poles, where we endevour to seek balance between them. I recommend you my friend Mario Savioni’s chapter 5 that deals with this duality. Interestingly enough, Mario has written 5 chapters so far, but each one stands on its own as an independent piece within a bigger structure (the whole novel), which allows you to read and fully comprehend each one separately without necessarily having to read the others:

  17. Excellent piece. The intense ending, suggesting but also withholding transcendence, is impressive. Does my reading make sense?

  18. My father was an alcoholic, as well as his mother before him. My husband was a functional alcoholic. My oldest son followed suit. I know well the pain of living with alcoholics. Promises made. Promises not kept. But there is hope. My father found sobriety before his end at 85. My oldest son has been sober now for over 40 years. Your imagery conveys well the anguish of living with an alcoholic. How often it happens that genuine artistry such as yours is born from pain.

  19. rabirius says:

    Excellent, as always.

  20. Your wordplay is amazing.

  21. Such a powerful poem… I could feel and see the images vividly.

  22. Renee Espriu says:

    People can be a very puzzling lot and very high on the list one’s own family. I obtained a degree in Sociology many years ago now and I believe it is my constant observation of people that decided me to look for answers but alas, all the books that have been written cannot give the answers of the human soul. A well written poem.

  23. Susi Bocks says:

    Sadly, this is a legalized problem. Oh, how I wish we would concentrate on why there is so much sadness which drives people to drink and fix that! Or at the very least allow something which gives people happiness without causing harm to them. I’m sorry you had to deal with this, Lance. ((hugs))

  24. Very rich vocabulary, Lance. That helps ‘non-Saxons’ improve their language resources in your language.

    Thanks for that.

  25. Nika says:

    My mother was an alcoholic, and I can feel the pain in your words; but, this is also because what you write about is so well-penned!

  26. A very sad poem. You have all my sympathy. Your lines make me think of my son. His father stole his future happiness and well-being during his childhood. We got divorced when our son was 13 but the wounds never seem to heal… All the best to you, Elisabeth

    PS. English isn’t my mother tongue, I usually write in German but hope you understand what I’m trying to say.

  27. It made me feel a pinch in my heart when I read this poem, sad and deep, you are a brilliant poet, well done.

  28. You are so gifted. Touching poem!

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