TWO CLOCKS BY SIMON ARMITAGE - 1999

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The Independent Online
In the same bedroom we kept two small clocks,

one you could set your watch by, the other

you could not. The night we lost the good clock

under the bed, the other seemed to know

to take its turn, and was a metronome

until the lost clock was found. Then it stopped.

Like emergency lighting kicking in

during a power cut, or biking it

half asleep on the back of a tandem,

or gliding home with the engine broken.

And since neither of us can talk freely

on Albert Einstein's General Theory,

electromagnetic flux, black magic

or the paranormal, let us imagine

that all objects and events are open

to any meaning we choose to give them,

and that if the absence of one timepiece,

causes another to take up the pace,

then these clocks could be said to demonstrate

some aspect of our love or private thoughts.

Stretching the point to another level,

maybe the effect is causal, and life -

if we could get things right on a small scale,

between people - might conform to this rule

of like for like - it could be that simple.

Maybe these clocks are a poor example.

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