Turning Back the Clocks


I look through the crystal face,
watch the hands circle
around, hands turning,

not creating time but only
simulating the irreversible movement
of past into future, quickly

past the present. I can, surely, grip
the stem between finger and thumb
and turn the ticking sticks

backward, 5-4-3-2-1, but nothing
in the past is ever recreated, nothing
damaged ever fixed, not entirely,

like the eroding beach beneath
my feet—no Golden Age to
return, no, never, no future bliss

of Kingdom Come, only this present
moment. And I don’t know what
to make of it, this experiment

of the now that resists observation
or interpretation, and is unmerciful
to any miscalculation.


Two sages meet
to speak
of eternity.

They sit beneath trees
that have rooted
for centuries,

beside the stream
winding between stones
for millennia,

stones slowly rising
under a sky
that has hovered

for unknown ages;
before trees, streams,
stones, grass, sages.

by time they sit,

wu zhen distant-mountains

(Wu Zhen: Greenery in Distant Mountains)


For dVerse. Mary has us thinking and writing about time. I like thinking about time, but it always leaves me a little befuddled. Anyway, write a little something and join in the sharing!

Alan Shapiro: Now


Alan Shapiro


my daughter on the swing explained,
“doesn’t exist,” and she leaned back
and kicked her legs out and swung
the swing up high and higher toward
the lowest branch whose tip bent
slightly as a finch alighted. “How so?”
I asked, and she said, “Well, Daddy,
because now is the past of soon, and soon’s
no sooner now than it’s just now,
which is then, which then makes soon
a not yet now, and now a not yet then.”
She laughed, and the chain ropes
she was clutching leaning backward 
tightened straight out at the apex
of the upswing, her tiptoes
each time closer to the branch 
whose tip bent under the finch
when he was there, then trembled
for a moment after when he wasn’t.

–Alan Shapiro