Clocks are such maudlin devices: ‘tick’ there goes a second of your life, ‘tock’ and there goes another one. I wish I could live without them really, but I have an almost pathological hatred of being late, so it’s not terribly practical. Still, I do not like clocks, particularly the pendulum ones that beat away, ‘you live/you die’ hour after hour, day after day, and the chimes that subdivide mortality into easily-digested portions: ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for three…(I know, I know.) Clocks, it seems to me, are the anthropomorphic representation of human frailty: Disney does impermanence. Yet, despite the abiding reminder of mortal transience that is inherent in the spinning wheels, they are, in some ways, even more maudlin when they stop. The image of mortality is too close for comfort – especially if you have to climb a ladder to change the battery…
The clock speaks to me: it speaks of passing years.
It speaks of fading memories that echo in its wheels.
It speaks of future darkness as eternal slumber nears.
It speaks of frail mortality with each second that it steals.
It calls ghosts to me: each pulse of beating hands
That holds within asymmetry the pause that marks the last
And tumbles ceaseless, whispering as falls the hourglass sands:
Today the dark antithesis of promises now past.
A gentle recognition of the endlessness of time:
The inescapability of what must be will be –
The closeness of the curtain in this earthly pantomime –
That rings to sound elevenses, then once again for tea.