Time (Eleven O’Clock)

Once I thought Time was a great god.
A powerful god ruling over loves and anguish with stretched and mighty hand…
‘Time the Healer’—the old women called him in their songs.

He is not!

At least not anymore…
That’s what the tears taught me—
Fear no song of old.

He’s powerless and he knows it.
Trapped in his seasons and tides.
A puppet of his stories…
Just as we are.
Bent on his knees sobbing
Just as we should be.
Like a feeble child.
Poor lad! He just plays his part…
We should all play our part!

Some say Time ran mad that fatal night:
’The night of the frozen tears’—the elders call it.
—Shut. Everything is shut.1 Do you hear?

I remember…
That bloody potion draught2—the agony of love rejected.
Ever brewing.
That shaking moon hiding behind the groove. Olive silver and crimson hands battling the endless battle.
Smiting the air with their howls.

—And those frenzied whimpers…
I remember all.
Even after centuries of tears that healed nothing…

—That horrifying moon… Hiding her disfigured face in anguish.

A legion ghouls are coming. Furies. Do you hear?
Circumdederunt me gemitus mortis
dolores inferni circumdederunt me.

—”You! Why are you here? What have we to do with thee?”

They shouted and shouted and I stayed on my knees shaking. Watching the elements cry as one.
Vanquished by men.
Shaking. The whole world shaking.
That horrible song of remembrance. Always the same refrain. Over and over again.
Oh God!
That everburning pyre.
I remember…
Always. Anew.
Always. Present.

Even oblivion is shut to me

—Some say time only withers.
—Maybe. But still…
—Waves don’t clean. Look at him!
Petrus flevit amare.3
—Indeed. Love is bitter.
Like a long rant of broken verses. Shattered to a million wild orbiting eyes.
Rambling on, weaving a song with no sense and no rhythm.
A cry in crescendo like Elgar’s concerto, always louder always harder, but never reaching the top.
—That mad cello drove me mad!
It always does. Violent rhapsodic spasms
—Love is bitter. Indeed.
Is that what the tears taught me?
Poor time!—we ask too much. I guess.
“So long,”—I whisper.
Listening to the ebbing tide we will realise…

  1. Henrik Ibsen, Brand:
    Shut. Everything is shut.
    Even oblivion is shut to me.
    I cannot forget, yet I am forbidden to weep.
  2. William Empson, Villanelle:
    My stare drank deep beauty that still allures.
    My heart pumps yet the poison draught of you.
    Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.
  3. Lc. 22, 61-62:
    et conversus Dominus respexit Petrum et recordatus est Petrus verbi Domini sicut dixit quia priusquam gallus cantet ter me negabis et egressus foras Petrus flevit amare.

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