Time

Time

A Poem by James O'Rourke
"

"

The clock at work read 10:15

The clock in the kitchen reads 3:24


A clock doesn't know about time

It only produces hand movements

A mechanical sign language

Understood only by Man


To be a machine meant for such a purpose!

Expected to rule over its maker

Day to day to day


A clock gives us an impression of time

A time that matters only when we look at it

But time cares not for either of us


Time looks at the clock and chuckles softly

Patting our egos as a doting mother

Picking twigs and clumps of dirt

From the hair of a wild girl


It moves steadily

As an old woman in a grocery store

Unimpressed with the produce selection

and indifferent of your wailing children


A clock may be the servant of time

But Man is the servant of both

And Man has chosen to shackle itself twofold

With one little invention



Original:


The clock at work read 10:15

The clock in the kitchen reads 3:24


A clock doesn't know about time

It only produces hand movements

A mechanical sign language understood

By the very hands that made them


To be a machine meant for such a purpose!

Expected to rule over its maker

Day to day to day

And not know what it is that you are doing


Knowing only that this screw turns this way

And this gear (if half-turning counter-clockwise)

will make you inch towards an image behind your hands


A clock gives us an impression of time

A time that matters only when we look at it

But time cares not for either of us


Time looks at the clock and chuckles softly

Patting our egos as a doting mother

Picking twigs and clumps of dirt

From the hair of a wild girl


It moves steadily

As an old woman in a grocery store

Unimpressed with the produce selection

and indifferent of your wailing children


A clock may be the servant of time

But man is the servant of both

And man has chosen to shackle itself twofold

With one little invention

© 2015 James O'Rourke


Author's Note

James O'Rourke
Comments and criticisms welcome...

My Review

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Reviews

I like this piece! I especially like the comparison you make with the lady in the produce section! Definitely helped me understand the essence of Time's attitude and personality.

There's one thing - you can call me a crazy feminist all of you want, but I am a proponent of not using the word, "Man," to represent humankind, because there are also women in this world as well. I know you mean to write it as a way to say "All of humankind," but using gendered language like that turned me off and just made me think of the fact that people are still saying the word "Man" to talk about the entire globe. I'm definitely not saying you're against women or others who don't identify as a specific gender. But I needed to point it out. If you disagree with me, that's totally fine. If you want to read more articles about the "gendered language" debate, just let me know. Thanks!

Posted 5 Years Ago


James O'Rourke

5 Years Ago

Thanks for the comments CLBombay. The old woman image in this piece seems to be a focal point for ot.. read more
The revised version reads much better - especially where 4 lines were reduced to 3 - it makes the poem more effective for me.

Posted 5 Years Ago


James O'Rourke

5 Years Ago

Thanks for checking it out Solar. I think I like the direction my editing is going for this piece. I.. read more
I read this poem several times; found it fascinating. Each time I came back to the same line;

'A clock doesn't know about time,' that says it all really and how foolish we are to have becomes time's servants.

I particularly enjoyed the last but one stanza which painted a wonderful picture in the mind's eye of that indifferent old woman and the impatient, wailing children.


Beccy.

Posted 5 Years Ago


James O'Rourke

5 Years Ago

Thank you for checking it out Beccy. I'm glad that you found a few lines that you enjoyed and that s.. read more
In the second stanza I think you may need to somehow distinguish between the clock's hands and the man's hands referred to in the fourth line - maybe by putting "only" in front of "understood" and then some descriptive word in the fourth line that makes it clear it's the man's hands we've begun to talk about.

I love the second to last stanza, that's a very strong description of time.

Fourth line of third stanza a bit clunky and wordy.
The fourth stanza I don't think you need?

Posted 5 Years Ago


James O'Rourke

5 Years Ago

Thanks for the advice. I tested out your ideas for the fourth line of stanza 3 and the entire fourth.. read more

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Added on December 24, 2015
Last Updated on December 26, 2015

Author

James O'Rourke
James O'Rourke

Tempe, AZ



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