Skip to main content

An Old Timepiece

ISSUE:  Summer 1970

—for my Father

“fastened with the tenderest truth
         To its own best being”
                    —Gerard Manley Hopkins


Tenderest pendulum,
     Your slender stem is
          Tremulous as it enters
               The minute’s fundamental;

Your bass quakes, still
          And the dimension
               Of dust seizes everything.

Light, like a mainspring, dances
     In the crazed decanters
          Of fake topaz…
               A pirouette of motes.

Through the tilted attic,
     In the milky wash of morning
          Cherubs, perched on your either
               Cheek, chime the furtive hour

In hoarse whispers. I found you—
     Choked and immobile on a shelf,
          Your wheels stilled yet un-
               broken—And wound you up. But

The seconds slip through your slow
     Hands. You were never meant to
          Insist our keyed-up pace,
               Old Chronicler. Your gentle,

Abstract face is bent now to the ghostly
Voices of years you never kept.


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Recommended Reading