In search of story

April 7.22: Coping, but barely


The thing about time:

it’s never where I’m.


Some of you know that my father referred to me as “the late Maureen O’Hern,” that my family said I was insufferably poky. I maintain I was deliberate. Those of us who live deliberately tend to think things over — and over — before we act. Clocks and calendars are annoying.

Thus did I miss that Poetry Month is upon us.

I seem to be in a perpetual state of catching up. Time and I are, and always have been, at odds. Or perhaps it’s just the measurement of time. “Late” is relative only to clocks and calendars, yes? This leads me to think about how we measure time so surgically. The vast amoeba of life cannot be held in tidy sequences. But could it be measured in poetry, which, to me, is anything but tidy?

This time of Now is saturated with blood and tears. Grief and anger are chewing us up. Clocks and calendars cannot measure it. Maybe the measure is taken in a certain kind of written word, in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, music, maybe even in the ephemera of a garden. If I can ever figure out what poetry is, perhaps I will find that all the above are types of poetry.

I think we seek the timeless. May you find it where you seek, dear reader, especially in Poetry Month.



11 thoughts on “April 7.22: Coping, but barely

  1. Poetry tends to suspend time while it’s being read. Poetry consumed all available time when being written. I think the two offset each other.

    I had to explain to our daughter how time, as we know it, was created to allow the railroads to run trains on time (and not hit other trains). I always had to add, “trains leave the station on time… their time, not yours.”

  2. I never thought of that — that time was invented so trains could run on time! It makes sense, of course. I like your take on time and poetry: reading it suspends time and writing it consumes time. I definitely agree. Thanks, Dan!

  3. I never could write poetry, but I always enjoyed reading it and trying to discern the message. I think I find the ‘feeling of poetry’ in a good book, sewing something, or watching plants grow and bloom. I hope you and all your talented poet friends have a great month.

    • Thanks, Judy! I like your take on “the feeling of poetry.” Yes, I think there can be something poetic about a good book, creating fabric art, tending plants. Oh, and let’s not forget dessert! Definitely poetic! It’s a good thing to think about in Poetry Month. (Well, dessert is a good thing to think about in any month!)

  4. In doing creative challenges of all types, I have become all too aware of time. Trying to call up the artistic muse on a schedule has been painful, but the practice has honed my skills late or early. In the end, can what I produce exist without time? Only time will tell.

  5. You may have explained ‘poky’ before, but it has not stuck, perhaps because I do not associate you with pokiness.

    You’ve reminded me of the ancient Greek concept of linear / sequential time (Chronos) compared to the appropriate time / the quality of time / the ripeness of time (Kairos). I don’t understand it entirely, but suppose Kairos was a kind of muse of time, so if their times seemed wrong or out of joint, the Greeks had some recourse.

    • So interesting. Of Chronos I knew. Of Kairos I did not know. The Greeks thought it all out, and how right they were. It might be something we know instinctively but don’t think about much. I love that concept of the ripeness of time. As for poky, I think I drove my family nuts, but there was the slightest chance they were just too fast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.