Monday, June 01, 2009

720 Clocks, in full measure

This is the full poem that I teased in my last post. It's a long one, which I'll use as my excuse for it taking some time to finish. Please let me know if you can easily understand what's going on in the narrative.

720 Clocks
By Francis Scudellari

Seven hundred nineteen
clocks plus one new-bought she
loving cups in pale hands
before it takes its time-
saved place among pieces
atop two dozen shelves--
blond-skinned particle board
framed by squat book cases
that dust-free stand before
her, patient for this day

Clocks with wood-grain finish,
cased chrome, or dyed plastic;
topped with never clanked bells
or kid's cartoon figures--
an endlessly spun chase
round faces, oval, square
her favorite tight sealed
within black cat's belly;
tick-waved paw, twitch-tocked tail
each short minute stroking

It's a lucky number
A very special time
When you can make a wish
For anything you want, and
it will come true , some day...

The mothering low words
circling back, she surveys
her measures collected
for four and twenty years
stretching from right to left
Each now properly wound,
batteries freshly charged
to call up magic twice
this day, filling it full
of her wished for minutes

Whether old-time displayed
by mismatched bandy lengths--
pointed, ornate, and spare
that sweep ever forward
through inward notched halos;
or mechanical marked
between flipping black tiles;
or more modern counted
by re-posed bits of eight
light arranged from behind

Oh. But is it the time
that's very magical,
or the sight of numbers
all lined up, standing tall,
each pointing at the sky?

Her childish answer swings
upon her as she twists
the gray ridged, clicking knob
of the purchased blue cube
set one minute before
its right-neighbor to form
a well-tuned chorus of
seven hundred twenty
clocks to barbed-ripple read
eleven: eleven

This last one pushed into
its first awaiting slot
she sits, slow scans the shelves,
a day's worth of wishes;
the same whispered, wanting
words that she will repeat
one thousand, four hundred
forty times, in constant
chanted hope for lives lost
by four and twenty years
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