Monday, October 15, 2012

Not On My Watch

Not On My Watch

Between one sound and the next sound
is also a sound, as a forest is tree,
air, tree, light, air, plant, fog, tree,
tree, tree, air, tree, tree, air, air.
We know what nothing looks like,
we think, staring at air, dust, cobwebs,
the edges of the masks of our faces
that we peer through, like windows.
No forever in Timeville, not on my
watch, no hand to track infinity,
no infinity without a finite thing
inside it to count.


  1. I wake up from a dream in which a watch inexplicably figures prominently to this ... a perfect example of why I love your poems so much. I'm with you 100% on the metaphysics of this. Time exists to measure what cannot be seen or known -- to create it.

  2. Time is such an odd notion. Love how you explore it here.

  3. Nothing doesn't exist, does reminded me of the Langoliers : )
    I would not want to live in Timeville but having said that I think we are in confusing and yet so lovely! : )

  4. Great poem and pacing. I've read it aloud several times. It works, like clockwork; and it makes you think, what is time?, but air, and breath, and step.

  5. hannah, just yesterday i came across this poem. yours reminds me of it.

    We call it a grain of sand
    but it calls itself neither grain nor sand.
    It does just fine without a name,
    whether general, particular,
    permanent, passing,
    incorrect or apt.

    Our glance, our touch mean nothing to it.
    It doesn't feel itself seen and touched.
    And that it fell on the windowsill
    is only our experience, not its.
    For it it's no different than falling on anything else
    with no assurance that it's finished falling
    or that it's falling still.

    The window has a wonderful view of a lake
    but the view doesn't view itself.
    It exists in this world
    colorless, shapeless,
    soundless, odorless, and painless.

    The lake's floor exists floorlessly
    and its shore exists shorelessly.
    Its water feels itself neither wet nor dry
    and its waves to themselves are neither singular nor plural,
    They splash deaf to their own noise
    on pebbles neither large nor small.

    And all this beneath a sky by nature skyless
    in which the sun sets without setting at all
    and hides without hiding behind an unminding cloud.
    The wind ruffles it, its only reason being
    that it blows.

    A second passes
    A second second.
    A third.
    But they're three seconds only for us.

    Time has passed like a courier with urgent news.
    But that's just our simile.
    The character's invented, his haste is make-believe,
    his news inhuman.

    ~ Wislawa Szymborska


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