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Image via Flickr by jeMie

I had a Facebook “discussion” with my blog-friend Nancy yesterday just as I was shutting Sonya down for a little while, to let her cool off after a long day of work.  I told her I would check with her at around 2 or 3 a.m. to see if she still wanted to chat.  Alas!  I did not see that promise through.  I could have, because I was up and working – I just got embroiled in the following essay (not a poem ruled by time or meter, but by thought) on clocks and time.  I have no idea why I keep slogging through these prompts.  It’s a sickness, I think. . .

. . .our print of choice in the sands of time

As long as I remember to wind them –
(Or change the batteries that govern the amount of time)
the hands on the face of the clock –
(I don’t really wind the hands up, though.
I just pull out the wrist-watch-winding-knob stem
and turn it (always clockwise) unless
I want time to run backwards.

Of course with some clocks that are not upon the wrist,
you have no stem to pull out and rotate.
But you must use a key and fit it in a special slot, precisely,
and turn it clockwise once again.
Unless, as I said before, you wish to turn back
those hands of time. And
want time to run backwards.
Then one would have to use their back,
I suppose.  I am so confused.

Now that I think about it, why are they called hands?
It seems only Mickey Mouse has that correct:
His face squarely on the face of the clock or watch,
his four-fingered hands twirl around the dial, appropriately,
as implied in the nomenclature.
Hands should be hands.  Four-fingered or not,
Mickey has gotten it right. (And has trained his friends to follow suit,
or is that follow the invisible hands of time
they represent?)

Why not call them feet?

Poetry (some of it, not mine) has its own
sense of time – a meter that is measured by its
feet. Longfellow had that spot-on.
He spoke of leaving “Footprints in the sands of time.” 
Feet, see?  So where and why the hands?
Unless those hands are things that must be
set by human hands.  Most folks would
find it hard to set their
clock or watch with their feet.
Although I am quite certain
it could be done.

But the hands or feet of time –
as the case may be –
have become mere relics of our past.
The past, as measured by the hands, feet,
or sands of time – another thing entirely.
(For the sands are set by regularly inverting
the delicate, wasp-waisted tube of glass,
filled with specially chosen grains of sand,
at precisely the time the
last grain of sand slips through the neck – or waspish waist.
Like I said, another body part entirely.  One
wonders how any of us tell time.  And doesn’t
telling time involve the mouth, lips, tongue and vocal chords?)
Now that’s an area in which I refuse to travel –
For the sake of your time.  There it is again –
Time crops up, every time I talk about time.
Time and time again.

Even today, as we leave behind such antique relics,
we speak of time as digital.
Are not digits but fingers on a hand?
Again, what or whose hands are used, and why?
Have we no other paradigm with which
to record our time upon this earth?
The digits are read, perhaps announced –
(When all is we-ell!) –
by the clicking of the numbered placards.
They flip and flap their way through a day,
keeping time in their own fashion:
perhaps configured lines of light
glow their announcement of the
precise passage of time – yet always
forward, and never backward.
It seems we are not allowed,
for time might become broken and useless.

Who decided that clocks were wise?
What do they know except what we tell them?
And are we not wise, we who created time?
Why would we do such a thing?
Why must we know what time it is?
Why create only to be ruled, and not served,
by our own creation?

And now we have atomic clocks.
Nothing to wind, tick, rotate, sift, or
flip-flap through our days.
Just invisible-to-the-eyes particles
of God-stuff.  God created us, yet
we in our ignorance created time,
and flaunt it and use it as a means
to justify impatience. . . with God.
How ironic.  How God must laugh
at what fools we mortals be!

We know so little, yet we mark our time, as though
we have mastery of the very things
over which we shall never have control.
Still time marches on, on its feet,
twirling its hands upon a face,
announcing to us with vocal noises –
always clockwise – or with slipping-down
and never climbing-up sand
through an hourglass, the days of our lives.
Our efforts are so important, we name
what we do not understand with the
images of our bodies, that we did not
create, and cannot fathom.

Why do clocks run, walk, pace, plod or move
when the ones who invented it
are Dumb-Clucks?

Why do we bemoan our lack of time?  Didn’t we create enough. . .?