Clock of Wood


To make a wooden gear clock
you must have the long winter nights
of the north country, a good wood stove
and the patience of a Druid

Set no goals, no timetable
The well-tempered hours will soon
drape like silk around the back of your neck
strangely courting you in a way
that beckons, but waits for grace
like an obedient bloodhound

Gears: cut at least six copies of each clock gear
from grooved spools of straight grain maple
Most will crack or warp, but likely
one of each size you need will not
If not, you have plenty of time and wood

During the endless hours of fine sanding
come up with a name for your next long-buried dog
Give Sorrow a deep bow and introduce
it to Grief, which nature reveres
Ponder why Syrian men grow the finest beards
judging from their ancient sculptures

Escapement: the arm that makes
the tick-tock sound and controls
the steady release of energy should be carved
from dense hardwood–walnut works well

Notice how the creek calms itself under the snow
and how a hawk uses the subdued evening light to hunt
while overhead, Orion hunts all night following his dogs

Pendulum: the pendulum bob can be turned
on a lathe and slotted in the back
for length adjustment to fine tune the clock’s speed
To avoid drift, the pendulum rod must be
dimensionally stable – use ashwood

When the days finally begin to grow longer
recall the diarist Samuel Pepys
who stole a kiss on the lips from the long-dead
and embalmed Queen Katherine I
who had been exhumed and put on display
in the dim abbey at Westminster
and consider setting the clock aside to settle
and finding a shameless and insatiable lover
Every Druid needs one if the sun is ever to return again

5 responses to “Clock of Wood

  1. A great poetic reflection on time. As a human construction, like a clock. And from what do we make time? A variety of hardwoods, Druidic patience and grace? Old lovers and new ones? A reader gets to choose.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you considered adding spoken versions of your poems to this website? You reading them aloud?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Done!

    Like

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