Andrew Olsen

Too Early, Too Late

It is too early,
when my slumber shatters
with the buzzing alarm bell
-- the sound of Hell --
too early, and yet too late.

I stumble
in the blackness, in the darkness,
full of hate,
to cease the oppressing noise
of my loathsome companion.

In spirit, it haunts me
like Scrooge's ghostly bane;
coming with ball and chain,
covered with soot, or smut,
or some matter of a yet more ominous vein.

It presses in
upon the windows of my brain,
and I fall.

Vaguely, I hear myself call,
"Tantalus had no rest,
nor food, nor drink
but he worked, and gave his all."

Perhaps it is better not to think,
instead to give in to the arms of Morpheus,
and take his poison drink.
Already, I am on the brink,
I shall let myself down.

Presently, another monster plagues my tired senses;
though this time, while I lie in sleep so sweet and senseless,
it moves with quiet and cajoling advances,
rather than with loud and brash ones, as before,
to surmount my unready defenses.

It speaks,
It sings,
It flutters its fiendish little wings,
an angel it appears, at least,
alas, 'tis only a savage beast.

Their deception complete, my enemies have finally won.
I am now taken to the land of wakefulness, the land of sun,
and there forced to effect the work I had tried to shun:

The noun,
The phrase,
The experiment lasting several days,
All seemingly plot
to have me thrown in to a hateful maze
of neither leaf nor stone, but of mind.

Is at least someone in the world kind?
A meal is given me, but not food, not time: now I must return
to the place where once, I shined.
Only now, it seems my senses are blind.

Once again, I am at home.
The day bears down on me with all its weight
and I must sleep.
As I fall on my bed, I see the object I so hate,
the rest that I seek is only its alluring bait.

I hesitate.

But no, simply an object, it has no soul;
it has no plan, no aim, no goal.
I rest my weary eyes,
quiet my inner squall.
Finally, I find peace.

Too suddenly, I hear the echo of Hell's fiery gate.
Alas, it approaches and I must face my regular fate.
"But it is too early" say I.

Indeed, it is too late.




[TABLE OF CONTENTS, LHS CLASS OF 2009 EDITION]


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