Another, Much Older, Much More Fun


Here's another poem, much older, and more for fun. It is loosely patterned after an idea first presented by the Greeks and Romans and taken up in earnest by Alexander Pope in his Essay on Criticism and Essay on Man. This is the idea of treating serious thoughts and investigations in poetry rather than prose. It doesn't hold up well in the 21st century, but that may be more perception than reality.

Making Sense Out of Time
Steven Riddle

The bridge
between this second and the
next is burned before
this second has elapsed.

How lightly we talk about time
as running or flowing as a brook
when we all know it shakes
and shudders, stumbling

one second to the next,
with never a certainty that we
have chosen the right way
to see it move

or that one second will
not crowd another
and trip the crucial domino
that will spin out some grand design.

We know we cannot trust
glass metal, springs and gears,
we use the moon to spell out months,
out place in the sun to name a year.

If we stop all clocks,
calendars and dates
have we stopped time?
Or if we use them still

and let them run does time move
all the same, or is it some
vast lake which moves little
if at all, and we move

through it, measuring
by our stroke as we go? Is time like
space, measured in length and breadth
and depth that we have not yet seen?

Now check, stop and see
if time flows past
or if we flow
and time stands still.

© 2002 Steven Riddle

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 28, 2002 9:50 AM.

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