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Sunday, 21 October 2012

Time is always tense.

If we could see the whole of time through one
small lens, one single, panoramic view,
we'd see an ocean, broad and deep as it
is stretched. We'd see it wrapped around our world,
and infusing all creation; we would 
see ourselves, frail craft, upon its waves. We
meet with whirlpools, adverse currents, tides and
sluggish seas - not all of time is seamless, 
some runs off in contrary directions. 
We have our landfalls, ports of call; unload; 
conduct affairs; load and set sail: we see
such visions of delight - or we are swamped,
or overturned, receive such frights... and so
we find ourselves in timeless moments, give
our local time to them - we have our small
chronometers; they work quite well(we'll say)
on board, but cannot read the greatness of 
the greater time abroad. Only from the
single viewpoint of the passenger or
sailor do we see time as a ruled line
that connects an end to a beginning 
and we ourselves as plots along that line. 
As many in the past have pictured time 
as circular - the poets  Eliot
and Muir, for instance, believed time past
and present would come back again -, perhaps
we'll find the ocean empties back into 
itself. The old man is the child again,
the buried dead make possible new birth.
Eliot could write about the moment 
of the rose and of the  moment of the yew 
tree, how they have the same duration. So 
time in the whirlpool and beyond our craft
is not equivalent. But still in our
beginning one can find the end of us.
.............................................
My references are to T. S. Eliot's Little Gidding (here) and Edwin Muir's The Recurrence (here) ............................................. Written in response toMary's prompt It's About Time for Poetics (here)

16 comments:

Mary said...

Thought provoking, Dave. Quite a wild ride through the ocean of time. Interesting to think that in one's beginning one can find one's end.

manicddaily said...

Every moment feels particular ti the one experiencing i think. I'm not saying that well. But, putting aside intelligence, the life of the fish probably feels as important to the fish as the sailor's life feels to him. It's OUR time, like our foot or keg or body. Course we don't take much care of our bodies either. This is such a fascinating exploration, and you handle it with a genuine and tremendously appealing sense of inquiry. K.

kaykuala said...

But still in our
beginning one can
find the end of us

What goes around comes around. Time is timeless and has a way of reverting back. This ensures repeats and re-runs. That's how I see it! Nicely Dave!

Hank

Brian Miller said...

this is a wonderful write dave...love how you take time as a river...which is used often and make it something spectacular with all your allusions to it...well played extended metaphor...the line that caught me was...not all of time is seamless, some runs off in contrary directions

Heaven said...

I always enjoy your reflections Dave and this one is thought provoking about the notion of time, still or motionless or moving or weaving back again ~ I think its a matter of perception and our reaction to the outside world ~

The title is eye catching too ~

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is brilliant, Dave. So comprehensive, and mind-expanding to read. I love the metaphor of life as an ocean.

Sabio Lantz said...

spoken like a man who has visited many ports

Claudia said...

wonderful contemplative write dave...fav part was...Only from the
single viewpoint of the passenger or
sailor do we see time as a ruled line
that connects an end to a beginning
and we ourselves as plots along that line....so very, very true

Carl said...

a beauty! I have been contemplating time all day.

The Elephant's Child said...

Thank you. This does make sense of the moments when I feel I have been cast adrift.

Kim Nelson said...

Some of the best writing, best thinking, of the day, David. Like Alice, with fewer antics and melodrama, I traveled deeper into reality via the vehicle you created with words. You cause consideration. You provoke wondering and wonder, both; and your imagery is lush and vivid.

Cloudia said...

Were you predestined to have those thoughts?



Warm Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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Dave King said...

Mary
Powerful thought that: in my begiining is my end - not mine, though: Eliot's.

manicddaily
Interesting thoughts - and almost certainly correct, I should think. Thanks for this, a really inspiring comment.

Hank
Mmm, yes, I think I go along with this. It explains a lot. Thanks, Hank.

Brian
Thanks for the comments. Most useful. I started off feeling quite inspired, but found the poem that I had envisioned an inadequate container for the thoughts. You may have given it a new lease of life.

Heaven
Definitely a matter of perception, yes. Thanks for this.

Sherry Blue Sky
Thank you for this. Good to have your thoughts - kind ones like these, especially!

Sabio
Indeed, as you say, many ports! Thanks.

Claudia
Thanks so much, so good to have such positive responses.

Carl
Thanks for - a new way to while away the time?

The Elephant's Child
Ah, I know those! So glad if it helps...

Kim
Wow, thanks again for such compliments. It seems it's a heavy resposibility I'm taking on if I do all that. I might have to watch myself in future!

Cloudia
Ah... I think you may have hit the nail... I bet I was!


Bing Yap said...

what a poignant reflection! no, it's never an easy ride but riding through the rough times is a good test of one's mettle.

A Cuban In London said...

This is a beautiful rumination about an abstract noun which touches us all. And yet, it cannot be touched back. Loved it. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Dave King said...

Bing
Hi, a warm welcome to you. Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated.

Cuban in London
Many thanks for a most interesting response. It was good to have it.