28 February 2011

Take Time

A poem in five parts, reflecting on our relationship with Time and how it affects our very identity.

Part 1, Quicksand

Emergent from the womb,
we take our first breath caked in plasma.
Ever after stuck in gloop.
Each step forward sucked back twice the distance -
our insistence to return to this placenta.

Always harking back.
Retreat to Past, the old familiar.
Even memories coloured black
won't loose these stultifying ties that bind,
this blinding by our choice of sick nostalgia.

Sands of time contaminated.
Flow clogged, coagulated.
Time stands still.

Part 2, Mistaken Identity

Stage set in mind's eye.
Scenes from the past replayed,
some over and over.
Life performance captured on cerebral celluloid.
This loving labour of the brain
lying at the very heart of us.
Picture perfect: past, present,
future definition. Sense of self.

Or brain trickery:
scenes that never made the grade,
memories never made,
lying on the cutting room floor.
Events too mundane.
Details missed. A truth too painful.

Part 3, The Gift

Late February night in London.
A silhouette of Everyman, 
      glanced as on so many nights before.
But this time an image change. 
     A new shape made out in the dusk:
head bowed to hand-held.
Oblivious to his surroundings, 
     inwardly inhabiting a different space.
Everyman is everywhere but here and now.

"Just look up!" my heart shrieks.
This is the moment.
This is the place.

Part 4, Spin

Hamster wheel begins its descent from Monday through Friday,
weighted down by the pull of the mundane.
Work. Sleep. And work again.
Labouring. Spinning.
Work and sleep.

Bottoms out Friday: rest!
...for a while, then
cranking up slowly, cogs turning heavily

up through Saturday, higher through Sunday. Pause...

at the top.
The sweetest dread at Sunday, midnight.
Spinning stilled. A silent moment,
hushed with longing -
and a wish: to spin no more...

plunging towards Monday,
wheel dragged down by its own weight.
Hamster reeling.

Part 5, Future Perfect

All the days of my life
stretched out before me
in octaves of highs and lows,
in black and white.
Oh but to ignite!
To light the touchpaper!
To set free the melody
on musical notes unseen,
not yet ordained.

I stand on the edge of time.
My stomach flips when I look down.
Don't have to think of it;
continually on the brink of it -
just drink it in!

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