Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Town Clock

The town clock
isn't far from here,
but far enough so
it does not mark my hours
every day.

When I lived nearer,
the housemate used to rail at it,
and chant through clenched teeth:
"We live in a quaint European village,
a quaint European village,
a quaint European village!",
every time it struck.

Now it visits
only on a particular wind --

on clear nights --

a doleful triplet at three am
reminding me that I'm still up,

or a resonant single gong,
and the noon-hour
has slipped into memory.

There was the year
it lost its mind,
clanging constantly for an hour at a time,
or banging out a single sickly thunk
at 7 minutes past --



for half a day
or more.

It is braced with brick and mortar,
shaken 24 times a day for 116 years.

Beyond a million times,
news of time's passage
has vibrated its way out to the town
through this fragile reconstitution
of sand,
and clay,
and pebble.

Humans mark the time,
and care if the tower crumbles.

The wind goes on blowing,
and the skies clear.

March, 2008

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