Asleep At The Switch

Asleep At The Switch

A Poem by Chris Taylor

An allegory about keeping alert during these troubled times.


Asleep At The Switch

an allegory by Chris T.

I man the tarnished brass lever that throws the switch.

The scratches and nicks tell its tale to all who man the last resort of this town.

Many hands have gripped this mighty handle but mine are now the caretakers of this awesome responsibility.

Others before me have given their time, their sacrifice and their years.

The ones that I have now relieved are such weary souls,

Eyes that provided a clear view to the spirit, now have a thick coating of dust that glazes its once panoramic view.

Nothing has happened here for years.

Each day runs on the back of another and I find myself drifting in mind and thought.

Foreground seems to slowly erase and ebb towards the back;

Malaise is creeping its sleepy mask on my face, on my attention.

My hand barely grasps the handle anymore,

And a used paper coffee cup now rests upside down on top of my switch, and my duty.

The time passes so painfully measured,

Now that my ruler’s marks have all been erased.

Why does this town need me, or my sacrifice, or my service?

It seems the task is unnecessary and irrelevant,

Like shepherding a flock of sheep in a land with no wolves.

The snooze button on my alarm clock now has more wear than my brass handle.

No evidence of my diligence is left and my eyes are now constantly at half-mast.

Can I still lean into the lever that trips the switch?

Can I muster enough power to lower the gate and save this town from destruction?

My muscles have now atrophied and hang loose on my bones.

So weary am I, not from effort,but from the lack of focus and the never-changing view that awaits me minute after minute.

I just need a little more sleep, I’ll catch a quick 10 minutes here.

It won’t matter, nothing ever happens this time of day.

I am jolted out of my coma-like slumber by an old sound.

A deep, guttural rumble, low and hidden resonates in the trees,

An outlining shelter just at the edge of town, a demarcation between lawlessness and safety.

I snap up and cast my gaze out toward the trees,

And I am frightened to my core.

Have I missed the danger, did my slumber pay a terrible cost, will an attack happen soon?

Nervously, I sweep my vision back and forth,

Scanning the trees with my hands firmly gripping my handle.

Beads of sweat rise and their liquid ribbons fall from my forehead and begin to sting my eyes.

Yellow, haunting, deeply evil eyes, shift side to side behind the trees.

My focus is crystal clear and my breath is caught in between a swallow and an inhale.

They spring forth, the thieves, the takers of dreams and lives.

The wolves race with incredible speed and their nostrils are flared,

Filled with the stench of apathy and fear.

Faster and faster they come, never running in the sunlight,

But, coming at a speed that tingles the spine of the strongest of men.

My fingers interlock and I squeeze the level with power that could make brass turn to liquid.

It doesn’t move, I tug, no joy, the wolves have almost reached the gate.

From the bottom of my feet I feel an electricity that surges,

From my legs, through my hips, up my spine and landing its power directly in my shoulders.

One last chance to make the switch trip and the gate to fall.

I summon the strength from my shoulders and the lever begins to creep,

Squealing its metallic vibration and starting it’s intended reaction.

A horrendous shaking of the ground has rocked the foundations of every home in my town.

I sneak a glimpse downward and see the hind quarters of the wolves,

They disappear back to the trees and a town is saved,

And with a last parting shot, a final set of yellow eyes fades into the forest.

Bang, boom,pow and thump my heart races lodged directly in my throat.

Although the danger is now over, I can’t release my hands from the handle.

I am bathed in sweat and shock.

The cries from the town below rise up to my post up here from my vantage point.

Their gratitude which tickled my ears, awoke in my a new resolve.

For they will never know how close to death they were,

And that was the last time I was asleep at the switch.

© 2011 Chris Taylor

Author's Note

Chris Taylor
Our, jam-packed, increasingly busy, lives can get so frenetic that we often forget to “watch and pray”; which is our most powerful defense in a world that lives to strike down a righteous man. We can get lulled into a coma of our own problems, ministries, careers and endeavors. It is usually at that exact moment, the one you weren’t ready for, when the enemy strikes; bringing down pastors, leaders, fathers, mothers, children and friends. The bible says in 1Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” and if you just look around you one can see the evidence of his “fresh kills” in every direction. Do not fall victim to this ploy of the enemy; the way he gets us to focus on ourselves and not on God and His promises. Also, if you don’t have a quiet time, a prayer time or seeking of God’s Word, you need to do this immediately and every day. You can’t fight a battle without going to the general, getting the plan of attack and equipping yourself at the armory with the weapons that God designed for you to use. So, please sacrifice something in your schedule to reap immeasurable benefits to your life and your family and friends. I wrote this piece as an allegory and here are the metaphors:

The man at the switch: you, me, the righteous men and women.

The handle/lever/switch: Our quiet times spent with the Lord

The trees/forest: the distractions, the deflections in our lives.

The gate: Jesus, the Lord’s might power to save us.

The town: our community, families, loved ones…etc.

The wolves: Satan, the devil, the enemy of our souls.

Let me leave you with one last scripture to meditate on: Luke 21:36 ” Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

The Great Plains Poet, careful watcher of the horizon, patiently awaiting my Savior’s return.

Please feel free to comment, re-post,subscribe and re-tell all that you have read here today.

God Bless you all; my faithful readers and friends.

My Review

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Featured Review

This was a great metaphor for the war waged on the unsuspecting world on a day to day and even moment to moment basis! I love that you have included in your Author notes some scriptures to meditate on and reference! This was a great poem and moreover an amazing way to capture the reader, any readers attention to the battle that is waged everyday! I loved this and thank you for putting this out there for the world! Great work!

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


this was a really great metaphor and your description of how busy a person can be to forget about the most important things nice write (:

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wonderfully written. Definitely a call to wake up from our malaise. Keep on penning.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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well written piece with good content

Posted 12 Years Ago

Brilliant work! Great writing and story telling to get your message out. You're a very impressive writer.

Posted 12 Years Ago

The tangible effort to cross the divide of war and menace with the worshipping of an all knowing God, leads the reader safely into the hands of faith. Not a man of faith myself, or seldom to be honest, I find comfort in the knoweledge that writers, such as yourself help others find a calling, regardless of what that calling may be, well done, good read.

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I got that the wolves represent the dark forces of the world and how you want to help lead other to the lighter side. Also, how people are getting sucked into the dark. I got this without reading what you wrote at the bottom, although I am aware of your type of writing. I get your passion in wanting to lead others to the light. I appreciate your love for others. thank you for sharing this.

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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i love the story and everything about it. good work

Posted 12 Years Ago

Very compelling writing! I really enjoyed the story in this and the message. Great writing!

Posted 12 Years Ago

The story was very good. I like the feel of struggle to keep awake and find the right path to be on. I did like the positive ending. Need to stay alert to life and danger. Thank you for a excellent story.

Posted 12 Years Ago

Wonderfully written allegory, I'm sure all of us are facing these days. Nicely done

Posted 12 Years Ago

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27 Reviews
Shelved in 3 Libraries
Added on October 17, 2011
Last Updated on October 17, 2011


Chris Taylor
Chris Taylor

Sioux Falls, SD

I am a writer, poet, musician of 30 years, husband, father and follower of the Most High God. I try to let my writing point the way back to a relationship with Jesus. When I am not writing I am probab.. more..


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