CLOCKING

I never expected this, he said. It came from out of nowhere. None of us predicted it. It’s a sort of thing that happens elsewhere, but not here, at least that was our assumption. We certainly never wanted it to come to this. But come it did, and so we accepted it. We learned to like the placidity of its face. We were lost for a while but our lives returned to their normal pace, the rhythms of the day overwhelmed us, and our lives went on. We never bothered to fashion a new year. We were satisfied with perfection twice each day.

TOCK

He notes with alacrity
that modern man has stripped
all logic from time, rendering it
an arbitrary temporal system
based on mechanics, and even that
is quadrennially imperfect.
Once it was seasons, which came
and went in orderly fashion,
but heating was never a science then.
Later it was the moon
a reusable calendar and what
was an odd month here or there
if the crops were in the ground.
Now it is sweeping hands
that carry off the dust
which is all that remains
of our once logic.

FLYING TIME

She said, “the saddest
thing of all is time.
We spend so much of it
trying to insure we know
exactly what time it is,
that it gets away from us
and is gone long before
we get around to using it.”
He said, “but it’s important
to know what time it is,
in case something happens,
for how else can we tell others
what happened and when?”
She laughed, “then
exactly what time is it now,”
and as he looked closely
at his watch, she disappeared.

TIME OUT

She is fond of saying
that time is on our side
although we both know
that time does not take sides,
is incapable of action,
is passive in passage.
It is something of which
we may never have enough
but we are certain
no one has more than we
in this moment. She
cannot imagine running out
of time, I know that
I will, but won’t know
when it finally happens.

TIMING IS . . .

 

The sweep of the second-hand,
the minute hand is constant, each
moment as long as the last, none
longer, none shorter and yet I know
that Einstein was right in noting that
things unpleasant take forever, while
all that is joyful passes quickly
even when the elapsed time is the same.
What Albert didn’t say is that
the unpleasant leads us to look
for the future, keeping us
locked longer in the present moment.
That which is pleasant keeps us present
and the future seems to come
too quickly, the pleasure slipping away.
It is, in the end, merely perception
and I prefer to remain in the present
for it is all that I have, and
all that I choose to make it.

TIME

There is never sufficient time
no matter how I adjust the clocks,
he said with a profound sadness.

What, she said, would happen
if you did not consult the clocks,
would there be time enough then?

But how would I know
if there were time enough
without clocks, he replied.

The cat watched this scene, perched
on the back of the chair, noting clocks
are how people punish themselves.