what is a wristwatch to an oak tree

July sunset

The sun is rising farther to the south
inching each day to the true east
to the equinox
Gnomon
the one who knows
his shadow casts the lengthening light across
the figured stylus
away from numbers and chimes
but into nature’s time
Time is not linear
but round
a spiraling cycle of sun and moon
Persephone’s choice
of resurrection and renewal
rising from the withered vine
to abundant grape and glory
only to wither again
Modern time is only a construct of conceit-
man controlling his minutes and hours
each tied to his wrist
or tucked into his vest pocket
to be worshipped
or rebuffed
or excoriated
until his final breath
But the old oaks stand
unhurried by the numbers and chimes
moved only by the moon’s tides
and the sun’s chariot travels
from light into light into light

22 thoughts on “what is a wristwatch to an oak tree

  1. I wouldn’t mind the life of an oak for a bit…

    it’s odd, logically I have known the cycle that is time, but never really thought about how the object we use to tell time moves in a similar circular path. hmmm…

    a lovely exploration of time.

  2. Amazing poem 🙂 The title was though-provoking in itself but the words that came after were of such insight! The idea that time is not linear but round… i agree completely.

  3. Wonderful poem!! The touch of myth, the deep message woven in.. and of course, that time is not linear but round.. beautiful, and the title is perfect! 🙂

  4. “Modern time is only a construct of conceit-” an awesome line and the whole poem just a masterpiece of poetic voice. The ego of man vs. the patience of nature. Adore this.

  5. I love the lilt & cadence of your words ~ Time is only man’s creation but the trees, how they moved to tides and light from the sun ~ Time is not linear but round as cycle, I agree ~

  6. I love that the ancient oaks have no sense of time…well, perhaps only through the changing of the seasons. There is something very comforting about trees to me and I like how you tied them into your very creative write.

  7. Once I wrote a poem about a 1000 year old Bristlecone Pine, & what time has meant to it–very cool take on the prompt, Kathleen. Zen folks believe that at least one of our many reincarnations should be a tree. Liked your lines /but the old oaks stand/unhurried by the numbers & chimes/.

  8. I enjoy how you wove myth into this poem, Kathleen–showing us how from ancient times we’ve always puzzled about artificial constructs such as time that elude our understanding. Nicely done.

  9. I like thinking about time as a spiraling cycle of sun and moon and also of the cycle of resurrection and renewal. Not to mention the sun’s chariot traveling…always in the light. A lot of wisdom in this poem — indeed man does like to control his minutes and hours. And, I guess one can up to a certain point!

  10. sometimes i wonder if the watch is tied to our wrist or if we’re tied to the clock… i love the approach of oak trees when it comes to time… that has something soothing kathleen

  11. I think we are lucky there are such things as oaks that remain unaffected by our obsession for time and clocks. Your poem makes me appreciate the likes of oaks even more.

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