“Cataclysm” is the final song in Abel’s five-part cycle The Dark-Eyed Chameleon, a work that deals with the events and aftermath of a shattered love affair. “Cataclysm” chronicles the moment of breakup and the anguished course of the process of recovery, finally settling into an exhausted expression of relief that the worst is finally over. Fittingly, the urgent music is concerned primarily with drama and pathos as it spans an eight-minute arc.

Date: 2008Composer: Mark AbelText: Mark AbelSong Collection: The Dark-Eyed Chameleon

Print vitals & song text



The fatal blow is struck by telephone.
A low comedy of excuses
finally gives way to a hollow metal sound:
“I don’t love you anymore.”

But who is speaking?
You shared my heart, my bed, only hours ago.
The monsters who made you are hovering near;
we were introduced just the other day.
They still have you in curious thrall.
And someone has decided: Our love must die.

My world, my dream is crumbling
in this tiny room, beneath a flickering bulb.
You say you prayed for us. But your god has failed.
I am shaking.
Opened so wide, shields lowered,
with time exploding.
I am being cast to the winds,
without explanation, without apology.

Did I ever know you?
My questions will echo through the years,
down De Chirico’s empty streets.
As for you, the rest is silence.

I am swept out to sea, pulled under
by a rip tide of grief and devastation.
I tumble and gasp;
hands reach out, voices cry — all a blur.
My fate is to ride or die.
This journey can never be described.
Hold on.

Eons have drifted by; finally the grip relaxes and I surface.
It is night, the air is warm, stars swim above me.
I pull for shore, alone, unseen; the dome of heaven lights my way.
And now I have reached the beach.
I am no longer thinking of you.

Support us and help us grow

Dear friends, Thank you for helping us build a comprehensive online archive of American song. Your gift is greatly appreciated.