One face of the clock is saying
there's not much time. Finish
what you think you were born to do.
The other rounds and spheres
like sleep, it questions
over and over, what is time.
Did we pass through winter
or did winter pass through us?
You creak your windows open
to this familiar green clutter
called the spring. But nothing happens.
You only change places with yourself.
Surreal and Real
Although you were barely prompt enough,
you did glimpse time blending into space
in Einstein's brain. But luckily you
didn't throw your watch away;
because it's Newton who has remained your closest friend
Ernest Sandeen, 1908 - 1997
Notre Dame Professor and Poet
A fascinating little book about time, that goes hand in hand with Sandeen's poems, is Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. I mentioned it briefly on my book blog a few years ago in connection with The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which is now an award - winning movie in addition to being an endlessly intriguing book.
[I wrote earlier that Brian Selznick's Hugo was an absolutely amazing novel / picture book for kids and grown-ups, about time, space, secrets, automata, and movies. Some history, some fiction, some magic. You will be living inside this book for a little while!
. . . and that Einstein's Dreams was another book of another dimension. Also some history, some fiction, some science, some poetry. Prepare for time travel. Days of future passed, back to the future, forward to the past, and so forth.]
Lightman writes, "For while the movements of people are unpredictable, the movement of time is predictable. While people can be doubted, time cannot be doubted. While people brood, time skips ahead without looking back" (37).
Who could forget the chapter describing the world of no memory? And even more memorable are the people who stand in line to worship the Great Clock in the Temple of Time: "They stand quietly, but secretly they seethe with their anger. For they must watch measured that which should not be measured. They must watch the precise passage of minutes and decades. They have been trapped by their own inventiveness and audacity. And they must pay with their lives" (p 152).
Equally contradictory is the world where the people live up on the hill because they think the high altitudes will make their lives longer, when in fact the thin air makes their lives shorter. It's sort of like my own personal theory about staying up 'til all hours when I can't (or don't want to) sleep. Sleeping as little as possible is my strategy for cheating Death. The more hours I'm awake, the longer my life is, right? Though secretly I realize that this plan could backfire!
and listen to time and time again:
Enya: "Only Time"
Who can say if your love grows
As your heart chose
And who can say where the road goes
Where the day flows
Alan Parsons: "Time"
Who knows when we shall meet again
Keeps flowing like a river
To the sea
~ Photo by Jay Beets ~