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       Darkness Before Dawn: A Memoir In Verse, p.1

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Darkness Before Dawn: A Memoir In Verse
Darkness Before Dawn

  R.S. Oswald

  Copyright 2017 by RS Oswald

  A Day In Early April

  Barren winter trees

  Stand starkly against grey skies,

  Branches reaching up.

  Between Two Worlds

  I have been labeled as

  Twice Exceptional--

  But what's so exceptional

  About not belonging anywhere?

  I have one foot in

  The special ed classes of my childhood,

  And one foot in

  The gifted classes, for only the best.

  I'm too academic for the former,

  Too easily overwhelmed for the latter,

  And too


  For both.


  Be that as it may, I know God still loves me,

  He created me,

  Awkward, intellectual,

  Autistic, perfectionist me,

  For a reason.

  I won't let Him down. I won't

  Waste my potential. I'll keep

  My empathy for those who

  Are in the places I once was--

  The ignored, the marginalized, the

  Struggling to function.

  At the same time, I'll

  Write my books,

  Embrace my academic gifts,

  And strive to improve myself.

  For God.

  Carpe Diem

  I used to let my doubts consume me.

  I wondered if I was ever good enough,

  And so I didn't even try to improve.

  But gradually I began to think:

  When I wake up on the last day of my life,

  As an old woman, ready to ascend...

  What will I have done with myself?

  Will I be proud? Will I have done my best?

  Or will I have wasted my life on "what-ifs"?

  So I wrote more--it was mediocre at first, but it was a start.

  I cooked, I drew, I talked, I laughed.

  I lived to learn, I seized the day.

  And so, when it's my time to leave this Earth,

  I'll know that I can go to God in peace,

  Because I will have done all that I can.


  I'm interested in animation.

  My sister would rather watch shows about animals.

  So what?

  I craft stories on a Google Doc.

  And she draws beautifully on paper.

  They're both art!

  I read all the time, but

  One of my best friends doesn't like books at all!

  She's more of an athletic type,

  Whereas I'd rather avoid sports at all costs.

  Good for both of us, am I right?

  Everyone's passions are different,

  As long as you're not hurting yourself or anyone else,

  It doesn't matter if you're mainstream or hipster,

  Introvert or extrovert,

  Nerd or jock or band geek--

  Or none of the above, or a combination.

  Just be you,

  And don't let society trample on your interests.

  Fear Itself


  It's not only the absence of sight.

  It's also my greatest fear.

  To be forever in the dark,

  To never see my family's faces,

  Ever again?

  It scares me deep inside--

  And it almost came crashing down

  On my twelve-year-old-self.


  Will I ever be good enough for myself?

  I know I'm truly academically driven,

  But there are concepts I just--don't--get!

  One little mistake and I'm suddenly inferior.

  Always striving, studying, reaching for the top.

  Why can't I achieve what they're all achieving?

  The teenage geniuses on the news;

  I wish I could stop comparing my gifts and theirs.

  Losing Them:

  I want to keep everyone I care about

  Close to me, physically and mentally.

  But my grandparents are getting old.

  I hate to think it, but--

  I'll miss them, when I'm grown.

  My friends, will they still notice me,

  When we're out of high school

  And we all have diverging dreams?

  Finding Forgiveness

  I've been hurt before,

  By someone I thought would be there


  They lured me in with promises of beautiful somedays,

  But then they went and left me


  And it still breaks my heart

  To think about what I've


  I can't help but feel hatred towards them,

  Although their face is becoming shadowed in my


  I'm tired of crying when I think about them,

  I don't want to have this bitter


  Oh, it's going to be a long road towards forgiveness,

  But I know that to move on, I need to let myself



  Father God, we seek Thee in the brightness of the day,

  And in the darkest midnight, Thou guidest our way.

  Father God, we praise Thee when times are fine and fair,

  When ev’rything is breaking, Thou art still present there.

  God is the wonderful Sovereign,

  God is the Shepherd, we know,

  God will not ever leave you,

  No matter where you go.

  It Was Worth It

  After all the self-doubt,

  The frustration, the criticism,

  And the times

  When my well of ideas ran dry--

  The day is finally here,

  I've gone from


  To "author",

  All thanks to you,

  And you,

  And you:

  My supporters,



  Let Me Out

  Don’t pray,

  Don’t talk,

  Don’t speak your mind.




  They trick you into thinking you get to be creative--

  ‘This art project allows you to be yourself!’ Yeah, right.

  The end product is as formulaic as ever.

  No escape!

  No escape!

  No escape!

  Few windows,

  Stone walls,

  Endless, endless hallways.

  I’m trapped!

  I’m trapped!

  I'm trapped!

  All of us are defined by numbers,

  Grade point average,

  Test scores, student I.D.

  But what could I do?

  I’m just a student,

  A student,

  A student.


  Cling to tradition,

  You're proper young ladies now--

  Sheltered southern belles.

  The Penultimate Days

  There's a shift in our collective paradigm.

  No one is sure when it starts--

  My bet is on late April, or early May.

  That doesn't really matter, in the long run;

  We never know when it begins,

  Only when it's taken root in all of us.

  We come to school with sunburns on our faces,

  The anxiety of finals in our hearts,

  And the bittersweet taste of summer on our lips.

  Piano Soul

  I imagine that

  The human soul

  Is something like

  A piano.

  Before you call me crazy, please consider:

  The black keys on a piano

  Represent our darkest hatred,

  Our fear and wrath and sin.

  While the white keys on a piano

  Represent our capacity to love,

  To help and give and care.

  The low notes

  Represent our heartbroken, lost-in-the-valley times,

  When all seems lost.

  And the high notes

  Represent our euphoric, dreams-coming-true times,

  When everything is right.


  I see life through a prism.

  My first pair

  Of glasses

  Had a red frame.

  (They were always breaking, but I don't remember why.

  Am I blocking something out? Forgetting the pain?)

  The protagonist in my first favorite series

  Was an orange cat.

  (Those books got me through

  The heartbreak and isolation)

  I offered a yellow balloon

  To the adults of the house,

  Attempting to stop the fight.

  (I didn't know, then,

  That not everything was so easily fixed)

  It's been said that envy is green.

  Well, then,

  I am verdant.

  (I still struggle

  Not to feel inferior)

  Blue is

  The color of the house I grew up in

  (Where I longed for love,

  Only to learn about hate)

  Indigo and violet--shades of purple,

  They were my favorite colors.

  (Back before innocence was lost)


  We are marionettes,

  Pulled along on strings made of hedonism.

  Our puppeteers:

  Social media outlets,



  When they want us to move one way or the other,

  Think like them and say what they want us to say,

  We do so without question,

  To the cheers of the audience,

  Who don't know that they, too, are puppets.

  Remembering Them


  Could have been a sister, daughter, scientist, missionary.


  Could have been a brother, son, carpenter, chef.

  But they'll never be anything

  Because of a piece of legislation,

  Saying it's legal

  To kill babies, innocent babies,

  In the womb.

  Why is it acceptable

  To end a precious life,

  Even if it is small enough

  To fit in your hand?

  God is looking down from Heaven,

  And I fear for all of you when I remember that

  His judgement

  Will come.

  Sing A Song of Home


  I sing a song of ice and snow,

  As the white flecks gather, as they crystallize on the ground

  And the wind blows cold,

  But I'm inside, and I know that

  I'm home.


  I sing a song of tulips, daisies,

  Of light warm rain, and new life in the world,

  In church I learn about a sacrifice

  And Jesus seems to tell me that

  I'm home.


  I sing a song of freedom and excitement,

  I love the smell of chlorine, and the feel of chilled-cold water

  Against my sun-soaked skin.

  The sky is blue, the days are long, and I'm so glad that

  I'm home.


  I sing a song of
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