I saw a clock on a mantlepiece
that was telling three different times,
it belonged to Joe , a man of peace,
who played me its three different chimes.
I watch the hands and I meditates,
for I really like to see
how time and the hands have different rates
at different times said he
This one here shows the time to come...
and here is the time to go!
But what is to go and who is to come?
asked I, who wanted to know.
Whatever is up and whoever is down
said the man I knew as Joe.
Life is a matter of ups and downs,
as everyone here must know.
And the third time there? I asked with a smile.
It's the start of an inch and the end of a mile
said Joe with a puzzled frown.
(I thought I was getting him down.)
Inches and miles and ups and downs...
isn't it time to stop?
I asked with a surreptitious look
a Joe's remarkable clock.
Not at all said he, with a look of pain,
I am on the track of time.
It's a slippery worm that farts in your brain
and hides its face in the slime.
It's a bird on the wing or a seagull's screech,
a tangle of wool or a line on a chart,
it's a ripple that runs on a shingle beach
or the sound of a dead man's heart.
Whatever it is and wherever it goes,
you can't define it, it tickles your toes.
It's a day and a half or a couple of ticks,
as light as a feather, as heavy as bricks.
Like the whale as it swims,
it's a back or a tail,
the rest you imagine over your Pimms:
it might be a pig or even a snail.
You can't see it all,
it's a conjuring trick,
you don't know whether to run or crawl -
but whichever you do, do it pretty damned quick!
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