God damn the lure of mediocrity!
A stagnant life is like a fetid marsh:
Indrawn and still, a dark turbidity
Lair to a host of horrors. Is it harsh
To reprimand the gifted, sage's mind
Lost to daydreaming indolence and waste?
How many fizzled stars might once have shined?
How many loves the sad old man embraced?
I'm full of questions; empty are my deeds.
There is no love and little satisfaction
In this banal existence. Human needs
Like fairy-tale phantasms swarm in factions
About my brain, and stir my sullen ire.
All that I have seems nothing or for naught.
I feel a fool for listening to desires
So vaguely formed, and but half-heartedly sought.
There is a gulf, a wide and sinful chasm
Between what is and what might come to be
If every docile thought bore just a spasm
Of active striving. How rich I would be
If I were just less timid, less phlegmatic,
Less Friedrich Nietzsche, more Mark Antony!
Would not success burst forth in automatic
Sweet vernal rapture, bless and pamper me?
I'll leave it here at that; a sour impatience
Dogs my mind, and shouts that I am lazy.
Mine is the curse of many men and nations,
The present is unreal, the future's hazy.
George Chadderdon © 1997