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Disasters, Delights and Other Detours - 98. About Time

A brief collection of observations on what the years have wrought. Any errors are my own, of course.

Once a year,

when the dogs have their days

and stars play with a young summer moon,

we celebrate a whole calendar’s worth of days

passing as swift as bloodroot blossoms,

bright and evanescent,

soon to fade.

 

 

Undoing

habits of a lifetime,

like squinting to peer close at fine print

and groping for my glasses once the bed is made,

or hiding behind clouded lenses

will take many more years

than I’ve got.

 

You would think

that after five decades

I could learn to do one simple thing

which everybody seems to have mastered long since;

but I have ever been dull and slow,

not quite grasping how to

love myself.

 

Not today,

but soon, I’ll have to leave

and cross to that unexplored country

of which a thousand thousand writers speculate

without a bit of firsthand knowledge

to assure travelers

on their way.

 

If you have comments or reflections to add to my own, I am always happy to read them. You make me glad with your reading.

Copyright © 2017 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Thought provoking poetry... we spend our lives contemplating our place in this world, and as we age we recognize the things that make us contemplate death. These are terrific observations, Parker. I particularly responded to the 'after five decades' verse. Well done. Writing poetry has come to make me sad, but fortunately, I still enjoy the beauty of it when I read others'. Cheers!

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25 minutes ago, Headstall said:

Thought provoking poetry... we spend our lives contemplating our place in this world, and as we age we recognize the things that make us contemplate death. These are terrific observations, Parker. I particularly responded to the 'after five decades' verse. Well done. Writing poetry has come to make me sad, but fortunately, I still enjoy the beauty of it when I read others'. Cheers!

There are times when melancholy grips me, and writing poetry helps me move through it. The passage of time - aging - certainly triggers these episodes. ‘Five decades’ describes a thread in my existence that haunts and badgers me. Thank you for commenting and for reading. 

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17 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

Really thought provoking.

I’m glad you felt stirred at what you saw, and for your comments. Many thanks. 

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It seems the nearer it comes the more we contemplate that crossing over ... yet in my own mind I am still 35 ... thanks for sharing your contemplations.

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7 minutes ago, dughlas said:

It seems the nearer it comes the more we contemplate that crossing over ... yet in my own mind I am still 35 ... thanks for sharing your contemplations.

You have spoken exactly how I feel; yet I know I’m not 35 anymore. Even so, I have so much to learn. Thanks for reading and responding to these. 

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Poems to be read more than once. In fact, several times. 'Undoing habits' made me smile. So true. One of mine was not feeling at ease with myself. That only came recently - a gradual process of which you formed a significant part. I think many people only learn how to live with themselves later in life. You, dear friend, are neither dull nor slow in taking your time to do so. 🤨😄

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These poems run a gamut of sensations, sights and activities. Yet the mood and motivation of all of them come through with marvelous effectiveness

Edited by AC Benus
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1 hour ago, northie said:

Poems to be read more than once. In fact, several times. 'Undoing habits' made me smile. So true. One of mine was not feeling at ease with myself. That only came recently - a gradual process of which you formed a significant part. I think many people only learn how to live with themselves later in life. You, dear friend, are neither dull nor slow in taking your time to do so. 🤨😄

I have such trouble undoing old habits and shedding old dislikes and foibles. I could not help writing about that. Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging thoughts. 

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1 minute ago, AC Benus said:

These poems run a gambit of sensations, sights and activities. Yet the mood and motivation of all of them come through with marvelous effectiveness

You’ve given us (especially me) a particularly effective form for observations and thoughts. It is often my go-to form. Thank you for reading these, and for such kind responses. :) 

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These are timeless.

Who among us has not felt this way or will not?

You are not alone and you've pulled back the curtain we all shiver behind.

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46 minutes ago, Mikiesboy said:

These are timeless.

Who among us has not felt this way or will not?

You are not alone and you've pulled back the curtain we all shiver behind.

It’s good to share these with everyone, and better to know what I feel is not unique. If I shiver, then I’d prefer to do so together. Thank you for reading these, and for your thoughts. xo 

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Ah. Five decades. I know that one, too, and all that comes with it. It is the era of contemplation, both of what has come before, and what might come next.

I have a perhaps unusual view on that. Time. It's a human invention, at least the time we know. The seconds, the minutes, the hours, and the years. Even the decades. All units of measurement that stem from how long our planet takes to revolve on its axis, and how long it takes to journey once around its star. Go anywhere else in the universe, and what we think of as time is meaningless.

But I do keep time that way, the human way, because I have to in order to live in the human world. I have to be places on time, I need to know how long to bake a favorite dish, and I need to know when to take the dog in to the vet for her wellness check. Scheduling.  That's really what human time is all about. When to be where to do what.

I think less of myself in terms of years, or how old I am. I prefer to think more of what I've accomplished, and what I still would like to accomplish. I think of what I've learned, and would still like to learn.

I like to look out the window in the dead of winter, and see the snow coming down, and never once look at the clock to see how quickly it covers the ground, or builds on the tree branches, or shifts with the wind to form mounds. It's snow time, not clock time. Not human time. It's not subject to a schedule.

Or, I can go with my favorite other to the field down the road from the house, which is the only place nearby we can get an unobstructed view of the sky, and enjoy a summer night without a clock or a watch at hand.  Take a couple of lawn chairs, a bottle of Cabernet, two glasses, a pair of binoculars (we share), and look at what nature has spread across the sky each night just for us. Watch the moonrise in moon time, the stars turn in their journeys in star time, the planets appear in their own time, the occasional, fleeting trail of some bit of dust vanishing in a final puff of super-heated air, in meteoric time. All without clocks, without watches, without cells; without anything that insists on telling us about human time.

So go the years. Five decades.  It seems a lot, or not enough, depending on how you look at it. But ask a snowflake to consider it, or a planet, or the moon in the sky, and they will all tell you it means less than you think it does. It's something we've learned, not something natural.

What you speak of in your verse is something we all feel, but it is not a product of time, so much as changing experience. At least, not to me.

You say not now, but soon, you will have to make that journey to that unexplored land. Now is gone as soon as it arrives, and soon is close on its heels. I hope you speak of distance, and not closeness, in that vein. In human time, many years, and not tomorrow. Rather than enjoying the form you used to say what you say, I am saddened more by the idea that we might lose a voice such as yours, sooner, as we humans say, than later.

Edited by Geron Kees
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57 minutes ago, Geron Kees said:

Ah. Five decades. I know that one, too, and all that comes with it. It is the era of contemplation, both of what has come before, and what might come next.

I have a perhaps unusual view on that. Time. It's a human invention, at least the time we know. The seconds, the minutes, the hours, and the years. Even the decades. All units of measurement that stem from how long our planet takes to revolve on its axis, and how long it takes to journey once around its star. Go anywhere else in the universe, and what we think of as time is meaningless.

But I do keep time that way, the human way, because I have to in order to live in the human world. I have to be places on time, I need to know how long to bake a favorite dish, and I need to know when to take the dog in to the vet for her wellness check. Scheduling.  That's really what human time is all about. When to be where to do what.

I think less of myself in terms of years, or how old I am. I prefer to think more of what I've accomplished, and what I still would like to accomplish. I think of what I've learned, and would still like to learn.

I like to look out the window in the dead of winter, and see the snow coming down, and never once look at the clock to see how quickly it covers the ground, or builds on the tree branches, or shifts with the wind to form mounds. It's snow time, not clock time. Not human time. It's not subject to a schedule.

Or, I can go with my favorite other to the field down the road from the house, which is the only place nearby we can get an unobstructed view of the sky, and enjoy a summer night without a clock or a watch at hand.  Take a couple of lawn chairs, a bottle of Cabernet, two glasses, a pair of binoculars (we share), and look at what nature has spread across the sky each night just for us. Watch the moonrise in moon time, the stars turn in their journeys in star time, the planets appear in their own time, the occasional, fleeting trail of some bit of dust vanishing in a final puff of super-heated air, in meteoric time. All without clocks, without watches, without cells; without anything that insists on telling us about human time.

So go the years. Five decades.  It seems a lot, or not enough, depending on how you look at it. But ask a snowflake to consider it, or a planet, or the moon in the sky, and they will all tell you it means less than you think it does. It's something we've learned, not something natural.

What you speak of in your verse is something we all feel, but it is not a product of time, so much as changing experience. At least, not to me.

You say not now, but soon, you will have to make that journey to that unexplored land. Now is gone as soon as it arrives, and soon is close on its heels. I hope you speak of distance, and not closeness, in that vein. In human time, many years, and not tomorrow. Rather than enjoying the form you used to say what you say, I am saddened more by the idea that we might lose a voice such as yours, sooner, as we humans say, than later.

I’m immensely grateful for your gentle and lengthy response to this set. It is wonderful, and wise, and deserves a wider audience. Perhaps in a blog or essay? I envy you your Cabernet and stars, and your view of snowflakes piling themselves up. I like how you measure time in terms of things accomplished or still to be accomplished. It would take an eternity for all those things to transpire, I think - an infinity. But that concept must wait for math class, or another poem. I thank you most deeply for your thoughts and encouragement. 

Edited by Parker Owens
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