not by much…just enough…

antique timepieces
mantel clocks
his specialty
17th to 19th century
each place in a room
based on the year it was born
this facilitated standardized instructions
for buyers who peered into the rooms
like elementary school principals
looking for something to take notes on
and he with parental hands
would remove one special clock
twice a week
for fine tuning
and adjustment
for although
its body was perfect
not one flaw on its surface
tho it kept perfect time
its chimes
would ring just behind
the others in the room
not by much
but just enough
he tinkered with it
even tested it
but he could not find
its internal damage
so he continued to tinker
returning it to its room
hoping that one day
the puzzle would be solved
some in the shop complained
that time was money
and that the clock
should be placed somewhere else
not with those whose chimes
could ring in harmony
and so
when the old man died
his precision clock
was placed
in the room with broken clocks
clocks that could not run
or those that required major repairs
and without his gentle touch
and a caring environment
the clock began
to change
not by much
but just enough
to make it
just like those
around it

15 thoughts on “not by much…just enough…

  1. Good narrative poem. Sad that without the loving care, the clock ended up conforming to the neglected ones.

    I like the time element throughout the poem;
    the old man, his patience and the spanning of his life (through ‘time’ – the clocks)

    The idea of the clock being ‘out of time’ or tune with the others (like the old man with progress)

    also, without nurture what can happen to us all.
    Good! Thanks for sharing
    Lynda (echostains) and (bookstains)

  2. 😦 beautiful but sad:( but beautiful.
    I love clocks, but I never wear a watch. Seriously. I use my mobile phone to check the time when I am out.
    Your poem reminded me of a French Poem “O temps suspend ton vol” “time stop flying”. In fact it is not the time that flies or stops, it is our clock. Anyway.
    Just wanted to say nice poem slpartin:)

  3. I don’t leave a lot of comments but I do want you to know I read your poems and each one seems to get even better than the last. I mean that from my heart.

  4. This is a really insightful poem, slpmartin, full of metaphor and meaning. I too no longer wear a watch, and make do with my cell. I miss the watches and clocks that had to be wound daily. I also miss the fine watchmakers who knew how to repair those time pieces. And I love ruminating on time…

    I love visiting your site and enjoy your visits and comments on mine.

  5. I loved this! Especially how you personified the clock’s individual elements with a human and his or her characteristics. The mechanistic details of the clock and how it works seemed extremely accurate and created a very nice visual. Great work!

  6. This poem makes me think of how messed up an educational system is when classifying is based solely on chronological age. Your words also prompt me to consider the lost virtue of “individual” development through standardization.

  7. Nice stuff! Life, alway compromising with time, requiring the human touch…not by much. A solidly written poem full twist, turns and imagination. Indeed, We must think outside the box, in writing poetry. Well done, my brother.

  8. I’ve never paid that much attention to old clocks before, but I will certainly look at them differently now. I love the narrative aspects of so many of your poems, but this one especially stands out.

    Have you read the short story “The Artist of the Beautiful,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne? I feel like your poem complements it nicely. Check it out if you have the time:

    — Kat Green

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