A cold deserted alleyway,
dark as a desolate grave.
Away off in the distance,
dogs howling their dismay.

A winter wind is gathering,
blowing tattered old papers away.
With tired forgotten faces
and the news of yesterday.

Discarded cans and bottles
clatter on down silent streets.
The chill night air is biting
as he pulls in frozen feet.

So many dull and dreary nights
spent seeking private reproof.
The familiar pitter-patter sounds
upon his cardboard roof.

His heart is filled with shame,
there’s a cold, deep hollow pain...
...and here comes the rain.

In and out of a fitful sleep
his dreams are demon-filled.
Taunting him and teasing him,
destroying the last of his will.

He hears an awful scratching
and he’s searching all about.
The sight of rats around his feet,
he screams and then kicks out.

Scuttling away in the darkness,
squeaking out with their complaint.
Off to find some other poor soul
to torment and to taint.

Another wretched creature,
living life down in the drain...

...and here comes the rain.

Traffic swishing here and there
on dampened tarmac lanes.
Home to feel such loving arms,
a fire of flickering flames.

Safe within their warm embrace,
they watch the hot flames dance.
No need for words between them
as they drift into a trance.

Silently they kiss and cuddle
and gaze into each other’s eyes.
Warm, dry and safe inside
the other’s contented sighs.

His long distant memories
are all that remain... the cold and pouring rain.

His body starts to tremble
with a deep and longing need.
The painful image beckons him,
then just as slowly recedes.

A sob escapes the willful wall
he’d built to hold it in.
It turns into a mournful moan,
that’s lost amidst the din.

His body is wracked with baleful cries
for a life that he once enjoyed.
So fragile, as he soon discovered,
he’d watched it all destroyed.

And all he now has to show
for all those precious years,
is a glimpse of sunlight memory,
between clouds of doubt and fear.

A bitter, painful afterimage 
and an un-relenting stain... the cold and pouring rain.

And as the slow dawn breaks,
he lies motionless and quiet.
Whilst out there on the busy street ,
people talk about their diets.

Oblivious to the lifeless victim,
enshrined in a cardboard tomb.
A helpless soul in a world of indifference,
he lost his fight too soon.

The report will say “Hypothermia”,
they'll tie a tag on his toe.
But the real tragedy in his tale,
is that nobody will ever know.

That a once proud and happy man
could no longer take the strain.

He died of a torn and broken heart,

in the cold...

and the dark...

and the rain.

Written by Darren Scanlon, 16th September 2014
Revised by Darren Scanlon, 16th September 2016.
©2016 Darren Scanlon. All rights reserved.

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