Clocked

Saturday 7th May 2011

POET unveils collection of three works, spanning forty-six years.

This was written when I was fourteen. It won a prize. I was proud of it. Once.

The Ant

The ant
Petite but adroit,
The labourer
Content with his world of work,
The satisfied slave
Taking a simple interest with his compound eye;
Carefully crawling
Carrying corpses or cocoons,
Candid – the ant.

The ant
Skilled as if drilled,
The inventor
Pushing his roads before him,
The porter
Bearing burdens fivefold his size,
Arduous armies
Armed with antennae;
Arrogant – the ant.

Recently commissioned by the Cotswold Water Park, these words are carved in wood on the approach to an elegant bird hide, overlooking the Cleveland Lakes.

Here let us hide, and seek,
In flight and beak,
In depth and reed,
Nature’s open book to read

I decided to try writing a poem that would be constantly changing. The resulting piece has lines which have to be recalculated – and therefore re-written – whenever I recite it. It was composed a couple of months after my 46th birthday; or, at about 3.23pm within the poem’s compressed time frame. Almost five hours of my day have flown by since. Here’s the version for today.

Life in the day of…

midnight. scream. i’m alive.

the small hours are snug secure
with parental bedside lamp

adolescence a seeping dawn
finding… peers through the gloom

at 6am i get up, go to work
i can drink drive smoke vote huh

mid-day: mid-life: no crisis
only older wiser bolder wider

but just where did the morning go?
working smoking voting i suppose

afternoon has drifted quietly into evening
i glance at the clock, fashion it thus:

in the day of my life
if i get my three score
ten and a couple more
then the time at the third stroke of now
is 8.14 pm and 25 seconds precisely

this time tomorrow
another three and half seconds
will have elapsed
and in a year from now
i shall be nearly twenty to nine

i must finish what i’m writing
eat, change, go out, see some friends
i shall stay in the pub until long after closing time
just in case today’s the day

the clock goes forward

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