Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
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What Shall We Do With the Slough of Despond?

by Iain Muir

What shall we do with the Slough of Despond?
A most inconvenient guest!
She arrives on the heels of numerous Woes,
And stays on well after the rest.

She feeds on our feelings, our highs and our lows -
A gluttonous, insolent pest.
She's bloated, globular, distressingly round,
And that’s when she’s looking her best!

She outstays her welcome, a terminal bore,
She simply will not take a hint!
Not even by standing right next to the door
Can you possibly shift the old bint!

She wallows in times gone, and dredges up thoughts
You long thought you’d laid in their grave.
She’s albums of photos you’d long hoped destroyed,
Yet somehow she’s managed to save.

“D’you remember when, Dearie? Then there was the time…”
She gleefully drags out each one
You simply can’t shift her, she’s here for the night
‘Til her terrible purpose is done.

You can’t drown her in Drink, for the baggage can swim.
Entertainments? – They lose all their taste.
While she’s with you, you see no future at all;
Just an endless, depressing grey waste.

So what shall we do with this Slough of Despond?
This leprous and vile old toad?
What can we feed her, to make her expire?
To make the old Baggage explode?

The answer, I’m told, to the Slough of Despond
Is quite simple, and easy to find:
One thinks of a reason to keep going on,
A “good thought” of the Peter Pan kind.

For she truly can’t stand a cheerful thought;
By good cheer she is deeply distressed.
So focus on one thing that will make you smile:
One grin will take care of the rest.

© 2006 Iain Muir

Iain Muir was born in London in 1969, and is not yet dead, twenty years of riding motorcycles notwithstanding. From the wilds of Africa to Papua New Guinea, by way of Central Europe and the cities of Oz, he has pursued his goal of seeing as much of the world as he can get somebody else to pay for. Twenty-three countries later, the plan seems to be working. A resident of the town on the shores of Botany Bay for the last six years, Iain tries to write poetry, prose, and anything else, in between flights to other parts of the world.

Find more by Iain Muir in the Author Index.

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