Before Dawn

by Amy Lowell
Life!  Austere arbiter of each man's fate,
 By whom he learns that Nature's steadfast laws
 Are as decrees immutable; O pause
Your even forward march!  Not yet too late
Teach me the needed lesson, when to wait
 Inactive as a ship when no wind draws
 To stretch the loosened cordage.  One implores
Thy clemency, whose wilfulness innate
 Has gone uncurbed and roughshod while the years
    Have lengthened into decades; now distressed
He knows no rule by which to move or stay,
 And teased with restlessness and desperate fears
He dares not watch in silence thy wise way
    Bringing about results none could have guessed.