Old Dave, who these days needs the loo
More often than he used to do,
Wakes in the dark and taps a screen
To find the time is four fifteen.
Bladder emptied, back to bed
But not to sleep again. Instead
His mind just ricochets, hit and miss,
From this to that, from that to this,
And in the end it sort of lapses
Into thinking of perhapses.
Bad things return from times defunct:
That challenge flunked, that joke that clunked,
That awkward confrontation funked,
The way he treated one now dead,
The words he wishes he had said,
Till all life seems one big regret...
But no, time cannot be reset.
And so he thinks of time, that sweeps
Us onward, onward, always keeps
Us swirling on to what we know
Has got to come. We cannot, though,
Say what time is, except of course
In not-quite-fitting metaphors.
Is time an arrow, heading straight
Towards uncompromising fate?
Is time a river? Does it flow?
If so, to which sea does it go?
Is time a field? A physicist
Will use equations to insist
That gravity can stretch and bend
Space-time. Dave strains to comprehend,
Feels intellectually ham-fisted
And asks instead – if God existed,
Could He stop time? Could that make sense?
And if so, how? Such random, dense
And useless bursts of wayward thought
Amount to roughly nought plus nought.
And, after hours of thinking so,
Dave knows how little he can know.
It’s then temptation comes to rage
At the indignities of age,
For time is harsh and won't forgive.
Yet time is ours; it's where we live,
Like fish in water. Yes, we must,
Like it or like it not, adjust
Ourselves to time, admit time rules -
But we need not be just time's fools.
For we are free to make the best
Of what short time we are possessed -
It's useless lying feeling wan,
Repining about chances gone,
For time, as usual, has moved on,
And night has softened to a grey
But not unpromising new day.
If you have any thoughts about this poem, George Simmers
would be pleased to hear them.