The green clock.

Samhain, and the nights draw in
and we move closer, stand together,
a little out of time, a little closer
to the edge of everything. Tick tock,
and it is midnight, and all we can do
is hope the light will make its way to us,
this darkest, longest night, tick tock
Imbolc – first signs of spring,
the snowdrops standing in the rain
and the fat buds of daffodils –
tick tock – the equinox – the world in balance

We stand on the edge
but how much leverage do we have?
We’re the disruptors –
that’s what humans do,
we tinker with our clever fingers,
fouling the mechanism. Tick tock.

Beltane, and the fires are lit
and lovers leap across the flames,
the heavy scent of mayflowers –
tick tock – and we hang suspended
in the light, right at the top
of the year’s wheel and tick tock
Lugnasagh and we start
our harvest, knead the first dough
of the first loaf, bite the first apple,
and we are rich and tick tock
equinox, and now we reap
what we have sown.

Samhain, and the nights draw in
it’s getting colder. Hold my hand.
let’s stand here, close together,
struggling by firelight,
trying to fix the mechanism,
fingers not so clever now,
each tiny wheel, each cog.
We scrabble for them.

Tick tock.

This is for this week’s Earthweal challenge: A Clockwork Green. 

I was really uncertain what to write for this one, and then something kind of bubbled up. I’ve been bumping into druids recently – not real ones, but I heard a pair of druids on the radio, and then a druid cropped up in a book, and then another one. Sometimes you are tuned into something, and I wondered if this was one of those times. One of the things that struck me was the fact that druid’s see the year as a circle, with celebrations every 6 weeks – the solar festivals of solstice and equinox, and then intervening festivals – Imbolc (1 February), Beltane (my birthday festival! Obviously), Lughnasa (first harvest – start of August) and Samhain – roughly Halloween.

Obviously the druids worked to a northern European calendar.

I quite like the idea of regular celebrations, linked to the seasons, to nature and the cycle of planting and harvesting. We have lost so many of these festivals. We still have Christmas, obviously, and Easter, but the harvest festival has slipped away, and who celebrates Imbolc now? We need more celebrations and more awareness of the natural world.

So this poem is where the druids led me.

I am learning to read the time – for dVerse

I am learning to read the clock.
Not the

tick tock

clock on the wall that
e/a/c/h/ m/i/n/u/t/e
into 60 straight sided sections,

or the boiling clock on my phone
that bursts a bubble every second,

but the great rolling clock of the world,
that surges and slows, so that time passes
sometimes fast as a swift flowing stream
sometimes oozing like treacle from a spoon,

that measures hours by the turning
of a sunflower, days by the life
of a butterfly, that twists and turns
back on itself, complex and complete;

and the subtle clock
that sits deep in my belly,
timing my days, whispering
hunger, sleep, morning, work,

that measures my steps,
the stirring of my coffee,
the sweep of my hand across my face.



For Mish at dVerse, who asks us to write about what we are continuing to learn.