Paperback

Before entering the book,
Lying in the almost dark,
I thought about the comfort
Of an ordinary life,
But, all things considered:
The page wrapped smooth
About me. I remember excitment,
and a sense of belonging
in that desperate landscape
of unfamilar words, lit only
by a spark from an inward torch.

Time

When I was eight or nine
Mum and Dad gave me a watch.
It was small, with a black strap
and real numbers.
Time was made tangible by its touch.

Since I was eight or nine
I have been fascinated and repelled
by all notion of time, fixed and passing.

I will not be defined by mealtimes, deadlines or clock chimes: will not swing on the heavy pendulum
that marks each moment of a dying day.

My precious watch is tucked away, unwound.
And I dance between beats,
acknowledging respectfully
but untethered by Time.

Running Out

Gas is running out. Coal is

running out. Patience is exhausted.

Sage is just an antiquated word,

and thyme moves on inexoriably.

When beauty becomes the name of a blurred remembering

Beyond the helping hand of hearing aids and spectacles

I will run out into the street like a lost toddler

Screaming to be reconnected.

Time at Christmas

In the countdown to this Christmas,
in the mighty preparation,
the shopping rush, consumer crush,
I had the odd sensation
of hanging grim to fortune’s wheel,
defying gravity,
so thank you for the chance to land
beneath your Christmas tree.

For today I see the little things
that slip beneath the wheel,
take time to find the detail,
the care behind the meal.
And when again I venture,
I’ll walk slow, with a smile,
remembering how good it feels
to go the extra mile.

Soon

Like the wiles of a fox
or the workings of clocks
Like a hidden agenda
or secret contender
I will sit, whir and tick

Like a kiss for a frog
or a driver and cog
there’s a place and a time
and I’ll know when it’s mine
I will wait, cogitate
Let me be, then you’ll see.

Old Year

Old Year rolls towards the edge:

all but cliff-tipped and crown-cropped,

he grizzles over sticky mince pies

and thrice cooked turkey,

downs a last guzzle of mulled liquor

and stuffs his pockets with fruit cake.

.

He will have none of party preparation –

“like celebrating my own execution”.

Instead, he catches up on old TV

plays Cluedo with the kids, who call him Mr Black,

and packs for emergencies:

no-one knows how it will happen this time.

.

Still,  warm gloves, tin of family biscuits,

and swimming goggles,

he’s ready to put his legs in one elastic

and catapult himself  into the next place.

If it turns out less than nice,

chances are, he won’t be there for long:

Years generally quit before outstaying their welcome.

Time Peace

Dad collected clocks; meticulously winding, checking, synchronising.

Marvelling  in the mechanism, ‘listen,’ he beseeched, and held us still,

as simultaneous hours struck irreplaceable moments.

 

With reckless disregard we hurtled  through time;

complex histories mocking Dad’s imparted  precision.

Still he held us – a permanent pivot in a plethora of progress.

 

Alarm bells rang when  Dad’s clocks collected dust;

A family epoch ending, we watched his equilibrium tip.

Though pendulums slow, time must pass. We were ready at last.

 

Still now, we listened, and held our father close as time wound down.