Dad the clock's stopped!

Dad the clock's stopped!

A Poem by alanwgraham
"

how memories can be triggered

"

‘Dad - the clock’s stopped’

 

tick … tick … tick … tick

 

on my side

curled, foetal

warm,

sheet, two blankets, quilt

feet toasting

hot water bottle

grandma’s blue knitted cover

 

tick … tick … tick … tick

 

familiar furniture

dark shapes in the sliver of light

sneaking under the living room door

in the corner the glass fronted bookcase

with the pop up story books

 

 tick … tick … tick … tick

 

I can’t sleep

The ticking of Grandad’s old American wall clock

keeps me awake, conducting my thoughts

I try closing my eyes

I still can’t sleep

dad says - ‘you think too much!’

 

tick … tick … tick … tick

 

I know I’m not at home

smells are different

Grandad’s pipe, the coal tar soap

smoke from the coal fire,

smell of gas lights

muffled sound of grandma and grandad

playing rummy with mum and dad

radio on the home programme

murmuring in the background


 

tick … tick … tick … tick

 

beside me the even breath

of my brother easily asleep

my mind drifts

who will I be?

what will I do?

 

tick … tick … tick … tick …

 

the clock stops " I shout

‘dad the clock’s stopped!’

 

the room is warm, too warm

it’s hard to focus

did I fall asleep?

The clock ticks again - my heart beat?

murmuring voices

not making sense

back to my thoughts

our annual stay with grandma and grandad

I remember each detail

the tiny bathroom

the fold down sink over the bath

the coal cellar next to the tiny scullery

our daily trip to the baths

 

tick … tick … tick … tick    beep. beep. beep ……..

 

the clock has stopped

a shrill alarm sounds

familiar voices, panic, running feet

my son, my daughter, my wife

‘nurse! doctor!’, they shout

the monitor has stopped

my eyes, unblinking, still see

my ears still hear

‘he’s gone’ my son cries

‘I’m still here!’

my reply -  unspoken

‘don’t go!, don’t go!’ -  my wife’s voice


 

I see her face, blurring

feel her tears, wet my cheeks

feel a kiss

 

I’m desperately trying to hold on

there’s something I need to say

my fingers are slipping on the edge

as the darkness comes

I manage to get it out

but no-one hears

 

‘Dad - the clock’s stopped’

tussur

© 2016 alanwgraham


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Featured Review

Spooky biscuits Alan. My Grandpa was the one who told me a story of how “That clock will only stop when I do.” I don’t know if this is part of every kids growing up, but I grew up thinking clocks stopping meant death too. He even threw in a wink after saying it, leaving me thoroughly confused as to whether it was a joke or I had been privy to secret information.
Needless to say, we were on holiday when he passed and I never did find out who took his clock.
Coal tar soap was completely forgotten from mind until you mentioned, then it came back to me in nauseating clarity 
Absolutely brilliant piece.


Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

2 Years Ago

Ta lorry. It's sad how you forget these things until some trigger brings them back.
Cheersread more
Lorry

2 Years Ago

You are most welcome.
alanwgraham

2 Years Ago

I must just say I didn't write that bit at the end - writemore. There is some weird stuff happens.read more



Reviews

'Dad the clock's stopped'
alangraham,
This is a puzzling but lovely thing to read. First I just took it at face value
as a story of memories of many visits to your grandparents. I see toward
the end it cycles into the panic of a great trial within the family dynamic.
'I see her face, blurring
feel her tears, wet my cheeks
feel a kiss'
This feels like someone saying goodbye to you.
Then
'I'm desperately trying to hold on
there's something I need to say
my fingers are slipping on the edge
as the darkness comes
I manage to get it out
but no one's there.
Dad- the clock's stopped'
Was this the writer which leaves this world or the grandpa?
I remember my grandparents too and some of your images and memories
brought the warmth of their presence back. Thanks for your wonderful
way of portraying a story. Refreshing for sure.
Blessings,
Kathy

Posted 6 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

6 Months Ago

Thanks for searching this out. The subject (first person -all my memories) is in intensive care. Th.. read more
Kathy Van Kurin

6 Months Ago

Alan,
Yes I can see the emotion portrayed in this write of yours. You did relay eneough desri.. read more
alanwgraham

6 Months Ago

Thanks Kathy. I'm aware that I often write in the first person which in this case will cause confusi.. read more
Spooky biscuits Alan. My Grandpa was the one who told me a story of how “That clock will only stop when I do.” I don’t know if this is part of every kids growing up, but I grew up thinking clocks stopping meant death too. He even threw in a wink after saying it, leaving me thoroughly confused as to whether it was a joke or I had been privy to secret information.
Needless to say, we were on holiday when he passed and I never did find out who took his clock.
Coal tar soap was completely forgotten from mind until you mentioned, then it came back to me in nauseating clarity 
Absolutely brilliant piece.


Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

2 Years Ago

Ta lorry. It's sad how you forget these things until some trigger brings them back.
Cheersread more
Lorry

2 Years Ago

You are most welcome.
alanwgraham

2 Years Ago

I must just say I didn't write that bit at the end - writemore. There is some weird stuff happens.read more
Vote vote vote vote vote vote...................

Posted 3 Years Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

3 Years Ago

I am going to commune with my friend sluggy stardust
Was was was was was was was.........................

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

3 Years Ago

Thank. I can see that you've caught the gist of this one. I'm still alive and 'ticking' but the bell.. read more
Very well done! I enjoyed the similarities to my own memories of my grandparents. I loved the transition at the end. As well as the last line! Amazing work! Thank you for sharing! Tabby

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

3 Years Ago

Thanks Tabby. Memories of a ticking clock seem to be a common feature of these recollections.
.. read more
This is a great poem Alan. So many of the memories at the beginning coincide with mine, that it was almost as though you got into my mind to read my thoughts. Good write.
Ted

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

3 Years Ago

Thanks Ted. It can be a real mixture of emotions writing and reading these personal bits of writing... read more
Forgot to rate this, 100. Saving

Posted 4 Years Ago


Alan, the tick tick of the clock providing the background for childhood memories of a dying man, tick tick evolving into beep beep of the heart monitor. Drawn in completely! Well done!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

4 Years Ago

Thanks very much Mary - I still have very clear memories of my grandparents house
Alan
Very well done. The shifting of gears as the memories and reality of the on-going moment blend into and out of each other in a realistically appropriate and a clearly communicated manner showcase the quality of your craft.

This reminds me of my "A Step in Time" which is non-fiction and involved my trying to sleep when I had fallen and almost broken a rib.

Posted 4 Years Ago


I got wonderfully lost in your description of the memories and loved the ticking of the clock throughout. The ending is brutal, but so true. One day the clock will stop for us all, as long as we can hear it ticking we must say what needs to be said and love.

Posted 4 Years Ago



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Added on March 7, 2016
Last Updated on March 7, 2016
Tags: memories terminal illness

Author

alanwgraham
alanwgraham

Scotland, United Kingdom



About
Married with three kids, I retired early from teaching physics but have always enjoyed mountains. In my forties I experienced a manic episode which kick-started a creative urge. I've written a novel .. more..

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