"He likely won't see six," I overheard
the doctor say, when I was five.
I thought he meant o'clock, and so
resolved to stay awake.
Later, when my mother said: "That's it!
It's seven - past your sleep time!"
I was cock-a-hoop.
Only later - some years later - did I realise
what I'd achieved, how
cheating The Great Reaper,
I'd joined the great immortals.
Later still, I thought
I'd slipped time into over-drive
when time was but an ocean
and hardly moved at all,
except within itself.
Its tides and currents,
like so many secret thoughts,
like those that I enjoyed
that no one outside me
could know about.
Next, I can recall
the day I sat and worked it out
that half my life -- exactly half --
had vanished down the Swanny.
So I subtracted from my age,
sixteen, the theory being
that the years from one into the teens
could hardly count. And so,
I had two thirds
remaining in the bag,
as yet unopened.
And so we seek
to slow the pace of time
and make of it a dwindling stream.
Three interviews I went to, and at each
they said how young I looked.
I grew a beard. It worked: I got the job.
I'd suddenly grown older.
Time was then a flash flood in the sun.
Now time's a stream in tumult,
its speed increasing
I have no strategy for that.
The moon petals the sea. Rose petals the sea. Stone sea. Stone petals. Rose petals of stone. Stone rising before me. Sea moves. How moves...
extract from the poem Koi by John Burnside All afternoon we've wandered from the pool to alpine beds and roses ...
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