I dread the autumn of my years when summer dreams subside,
 And balmy breezes haunt my room by pushing drapes aside
To whisper nightmares in my ear with warm and sultry breath—
 Then drift away in light of day
Like harbingers of death.

It was upon a night like this not very long ago,
 I stood in contemplation of the courtyard far below;
My restless mind could not ignore the passing of the breeze,
 As dry leaves swirled, decayed and curled
Amongst the dying trees.

I cast a prayer against the sky beseeching peaceful sleep,
 It echoed back and reassured my soul the Lord would keep;
And so I paced the weathered floor of my nocturnal plight—
 The creaks and groans of age bemoans
The passing of the night.

"Enough!" I cried in fearful rage. "Before all reason fades,
 I must escape this wretched trap from which my sleep evades."

So from my nightstand I retrieved a heavy iron key
 Within a drawer which fits a door
Few others ever see.

The mechanism of the lock protested my intrusions,
 But fell aside with rusty shrieks, removing all preclusions;
Lifting high my bedside lamp, I climbed the spiral stairs—
 Though nearly blind, I vowed to find
Diversion from my cares.

The narrow steps abruptly end outside a rounded room
 Where ideas flicker in delight and wisdom cuts the gloom;
On sturdy shelves around the walls, my cherished books were spread,
 Crammed with notes and borrowed quotes,
But mostly still unread.

My senses started spinning from the churn of twisted plots,
 The lure of musty leather and the tang of virgin thoughts;
I scanned the volumes carefully deciding which to keep—
 What might I find to ease my mind
And coax my soul to sleep?

I saw within my lofty reach an abstruse book of verse
 Espousing deep philosophies in which I could immerse;
As I reflect upon the mire my truth is seldom shown—
 These words impart the poet's heart
But speak not of my own.

Undaunted by my failed attempt, I search the shelves again
 And found upon a gritty shelf the crude affairs of men,
Where justice flew on angry fists and sins repaid in kind—
 A darker place, devoid of grace ...
A place best left behind.

Perhaps a romance could entice my passions to be stilled,
 But found amongst the pages expectations unfulfilled;
Stories steeped in pleasure and distilled like hemlock tea—
 My heart denies those lustful lies
Of love which cannot be.

I settled in to search all night when something caught my eye—
 A glint of gold beneath the dust of something shelved up high;
It was the Bible I once loved, neglected since my youth—
 I dared to peek and thereby seek
God's everlasting truth.

I found a gentle wisdom no mere human could contrive,
 A righteous sense of justice in which virtue can survive,
The love and peace the Lord bestows on aging fools like me ...
 I searched no more, secured the door,
And threw away the key.