solar days

dark and unbright
collapsing matter imploded and ignited
in the spiral regions of a spinning elemental disc
and recreated once again another recycled colored burning star
the sun and the planetary remnants of its beginnings
spun the epicycles of its orbital ellipses
and established a seemingly eternal
chaos of repetitions


siderial nights

day after day after night after day
a menstrual moon
traversed the sunlight sky
and phased and moved along
a path against the stars

the salted tides
flowed in and out
and heated vapours clouded
pale deflected sunlight
bright enough
to blacken shadows
and conceal the movement
of nocturnal death

seasons changed
and changed again
and then returned
and changed again

awareness became as one
with endless cycles
of rotating stars
that turned the nighttime sky
about a single point
of slow and unremembered
axial precession
as the systems of the earth
all waxed and waned
and fire and earth
and air and water
endlessly repeated and reformed
and constructed recollections
in the sediments of evolution

surprised to find itself aware
an introspective mind
began to count repeat events
with tally-marks
inscribed on walls
of neolithic caves

sundial shadows

the shadow of the gnomon style
is sharpened by the sun
and starts its unrelenting path
around the slanted hours

the subdivisions of the track
are scribed upon a dial
that correspond exactly
as is possible to ensure
that time from noon to midday
can be counted out by hand
and totals twelve plus twelve reversals
of an hourglass filled with sand

by night the constellations
seem to turn upon their sphere
and rise and set thruout the night
and mark the time of year

and when the snow and rain
obliterate the light
and shadow time does not exist
then waiting thought reverts
to an endurance of subconscious beats
and pauseless exhalations that
anticipate the next intake of breath

clepsydra outflow

remove the waxen plug
that blocks the orifice created
near the kiln-fired wheel-spun bottom
of a water bowl of clay

a small unbroken jet
would trace its parabolic arc
and slowly void the brimming pot
to estimate a short and finite quantity
of smooth unbroken time

and whilst it is seductive to imagine
that unturbulated streaming
of a fluid thru a hole
somehow encapsulates the concept
of a vector flow of time

the reality remains
that when a pot clepsydra
has discharged its measured fill
the reckoning of time
is still intrinsically linked
to all the recollected pulses
and the unforgotten cycles
of an individual entity
experiencing life

the universe unfeeling
cannot count the pass of time

pendulum and spring

...tocked the clock
contrived of mechanical parts

of gears of brass
and shafts and glass
and bits that stops and starts

of dials and hands
and pre-sprung bands
or weights that hang below

and keys and springs
expanding tings
that help to make it go

...clicked the tock
repeating itself every twice

the ratchet escape
an ingenious shape
was the apt and effective device

its handed face
with measured pace
could tell us clockwise time

and bongs built in
of an alloy of tin
would signal the hour with a chime

...tocked the tock
its period steady and true

a start was flagged
a memory tagged
the count of tocks accrue

the swinging sum
of pendulum
recorded to the last

then something saw
the clocked-up score
and knew that time had passed


strata time

the memories retained
about the cycles of the earth
are registered in order
in the stacks of archive files
of archean lithic sediments

compressed by ancient gravitation
twisted and distorted
by the continents that move
and broke apart
disrupted and subducted
and upthrusted to the sky
burst apart by raw volcanic power
that oozed and coagulated
its igneous and molten lava blood
or showered with a pumice ash
that settled back to earth
from far above the clouds
then scoured and washed away
by the torrents of a flood

the cycles that can number
all the happenings of such changes
can not be ever counted
in the fleeting recollections
of a living creature
that will only last
two thousand million heartbeats

only fossils can recall
the 30 million years it took
an eye to incrementally evolve

only they can reconstruct the path whereby
in twice one hundred thousand thousand years
a feathered biped therapod
climbed up into the trees
and gradually took to flight
and incrementally transformed
from sharp-toothed dinosaur
into a singing bird

only plausable assumptions
extrapolated backwards
along a rectilinear axis
supposed to represent
the passage of time

only they
can simulate the recollection
of billion year old rocks
wherein the ratio residual
of uranium fragility
and the decayed stability of lead
can estimate accumulated eons
of uncounted star-sky days and years
that seem to have elapsed
from old archean eras
of the igneous beginnings
when the continental shield congealed

atomic clock

though we can live a second
when we breath a single sigh
we can never measure easily
the time to blink an eye

we cannot count the time it takes
for light to travel thru
the thickness of a single pane of glass

we cannot see nor count the times
the membrane wings of bumble bees
vibrate to bolster flight

we needed an adroit machine
that could accumulate for us
some kind of miniscule partitions
of the briefest and unsensed events
that endlessly occur
beyond the measure
of familiar daily repetitions

the energy of thermal motion
of the element of caesium
was reduced to be as low
as quantum perturbations
of the cosmos would allow

transition energies were counted
and nine hundred million periods
were totalled more or less
before the ticking turning
of a springwound stopwatch second hand
had moved thru six degrees

a stock atomic timepiece
can recalibrate all clocks
so that by various and diverse means
we can confirm
that all our solar days
are not the same
are not of constant length
and that the continents and sea-floors move
and hummingbirds can beat their wings
more quickly than
the largest insect dragonfly

and in the time that evolution takes
to shape and form a wing
the error of this atom clock
would be about the same
as all the time that would elapse
in one intake of breath

abstract time

abstracted and described
appears to be a cosmic process
of continuous and irreversable
evolutionary change

the experience of time
is but the reconstructed recollection
of recorded and remembered sequences
of essential repetitions

our sensing of the universe
is so imbued
with the presence and recollection
of periodicities
that any attempt
to suppose a universe of change
without time
will but induce
a curt denial and a disbelief

would not
a hypothetic universe
devoid of cyclic repetitions
actually be
timeless...? it not the case
that by removing
the ability of an awareness
to sense cyclic change...
our heartbeats and our breathing
and our days and meals and clocks...
so also is removed
the ability to experience
the comfortable and familiar
passage of time...?

imagining time
to be an independent
continuous and reversible
dynamic and fluidic
condition of the universe
does not make it so

whether it is heartbeats
solar days
births and deaths
or geological aeons
of sedimented deposition

the experience of time
is nothing more
than the reconstruction
of remembered images
associated with an awareness
of accumulated periodic repetitions

time is a dimension
because it can be measured
by the counting
of stable oscillations

do not imagine
that time can pass
of some manifestation
of periodic repetition

without the record
of cyclic sequences
time does not exist