The clock trots on like a horse
Ridden but with nowhere to go.
I watch the second-hand
And at first it appears to count backwards.
It takes a lifetime to get back around to twelve
And I find myself counting in thousands;
Just to make sure.
This little white travel alarm-clock,
With the square face,
With the curved corners, and
That have long since faded.
And its incessant tick-tocking,
Are all that holds me
And the fabric of my world, together.
Right here: at this moment in time,
Without that clock, there would be nothing.
The skies outside would fade to white,
Washing with it all the colours of the world;
Like the paint off a brush
Under the hot-water tap.
The condensation on my window,
And the mould that has built up in the corners
Because of it would be no more.
I would be but an empty pen:
The quill dipped in an empty inkwell,
Writing on a blank sheet off paper.
Without this clock
And its gentle pace,
There would be no ringing
Of my tinnitus bell;
And no more amiable chatter
Out of it at the back of my mind;
The dull voices that squeeze
Through the bricks to my ear
And the rush of cistern water
Would be replaced with an
Unbearably loud silence,
In which even I couldn't hear my screams.
There would be no flesh nor bone
Upon my spirit
And no thoughts or feelings in my mind:
There would be absolute nothing
And in all of that nothing would sit everything
That existed in the nothingness.
And so I pray,
And I watch and I count;
I listen and I feel,
As my body synchronises with this clock
And relies on it, because
Without this little white travel alarm-clock,
If it was to ever stop,
This life and this existence
Would stop with that
And we melt: flooding into the drains
Draining out into the vast uniform