The Burned Horizon

“The Burned Horizon” is the opening song in The Dark-Eyed Chameleon. Unsettled in character, it introduces us to the partner’s deeply troubled soul, hiding behind flimsy and crumbling facades as she turns to the temporary refuge of a romantic relationship. And it outlines some of her history, marked by indelible damage from “so long ago.” Shifting harmonies and rhythms, and free verse combine to repeatedly evoke the pace and patterns of human speech. A lingering, melancholy sympathy for the former love surfaces at the end of the song.

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

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Behind your mask
lies a secret face that the world has never seen.
But I have.

It is beautiful and terrible,
tearing at my desolate heart.
How I sought to heal what can never be healed;
you cannot be healed.

The damage was so long ago.
To survive, you buried the unspeakable,
for protection took a mate you did not love,
constructed an identity.

It seemed sturdy to most.
But the facade was always brittle
and cracks appeared, time and again,
flaking the plaster off your ochre wall.

Troubled one, an odyssey would be your fate.
From city to city you roamed, with a child now,
building then breaking bonds, never happy.
A curse hung over you.

And finally you came to me,
my dark-eyed chameleon.
… If only I had known all this.

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