Wake-up foolish sleeper!  Wake-up!

A poem originally written in 1995 for three sisters

Sirens in the distance, footsteps pounding in the hall.
A voice is heard to cry out loud “run, for soon it falls!”
For many years I've lived here.  Its never been this bad.
My neighbours now aren't quite the same as the ones I used to have.
The ceiling lights up above me, a rhythmic flashing beat,
brightly through the open window from blue lights in the street.
The noise is louder now, the clamour great and close.
Is that smoke I smell; perhaps I've burnt some toast.
A banging on the door, a shaking of the lock.
No, I really shan't arise; its only three o'clock!
There is screaming and there is shouting; They really are so rude.
Why must people disturb me, when I'm dozing in the nude?

If I take a look, their reason I might see.
But since the choice is mine alone, I choose to watch TV.
I'd like to watch the lottery, I might have won a prize.
I have no time right here and now to watch the eastern skies.

I wonder what that klaxon means, who rings that wretched bell?
Its hard to live a life of peace in a place a bit like hell.
The sound of glass above me breaks, by its roots the building shakes.
The crackle grows, the lights go dim.
Oh, what a lousy home I'm in!

Now there's a man outside my door; he's asking to come in!
He must be crazy! Will he try to talk, amid this infernal din?
He says I need to meet him, he says he's my only hope.
I suppose he must be a lunatic or high upon some dope
I tell him he is a stranger and that he ought to go away.
If he wants to sell me something then to come another day.
He says I've got the wrong idea, that my thoughts are not quite true.
He says he'll make it all entirely clear — that I need a better view.
I tell him I can see quite well, that his advice is wrongly placed.
And I'd rather not be troubled in this, my private space.
He says there is great danger, he says I can escape.
But, he says, we must leave right now for soon it'll be too late.
I tell him we'll discuss it, at some better time;
it's really not convenient before half past nine.
Right now, and I make this clear, I need some precious sleep,
and my repose has been disturbed enough by the ever-rising heat.
“Go away!” I shout.  “Leave me alone”, and, “Let me rest within my home”.

My bed awaits me, I try to sleep,
but until it happens I'll count some sheep.
I've got so warm I'm afraid I'll rot.
Oh why is it so goddammed hot?
I want a drink.  I want it now.
Sweat pours in rivers down my brow.

That man is still out there, loitering by my door.
He calls out that he has some water that I can drink for evermore.
Now I'm getting angry; I cannot stand a fool,
and, I do not want to drink from this idiot's swimming pool.
I tell him plain and I tell him bold;
its all right for him, out there, in the cold.
If he wants to help then that he can ...
...  please will he bring the noise level down?
For I hear bells and sirens and voices loud and these I do not need.
But he just says they are a warning and that I really should take heed.

So humbly I go back to my bed.
in order to think carefully over what he's said.
He keeps on knocking for some time
and as he knocks I hear him cry “Wake-up foolish sleeper! Wake-up!”

But then he stops, and I wonder why,
Its not much later that the bed (in which I chose to lie),
becomes the place in which I die.

The gates of hell yawn
and in their sulphurous, smoky dawn
I am horribly awake, and I am still thirsty.

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