We’ve come a long way
since the cock crowed,
said the Marquis de Horloges,
fastening down a Spinoza to his left;
deep matted blue seas contain
among shattered glass
and remains of difficult treasures,
wheels within wheels,
clicking in tin cases,
time ticking away under the ocean,
crawling away with no commotion;
horloge de la mort.

When Descartes’ hotfoot
stove glowed with spirals of
color, like saltwater taffy,
inspiring his thoughts
in the pool of self
to sink, to himself perspiring,
Descartes began to think
things can’t be the same,
but I remain;
I is I,
you is you,
and is this our space,
spreading like oil on infinite water?
To swim beyond the walls of self
no philosopher dares,
no poet, no pope,
no holy man.

Flip, flap,
when Pastor Donne flew over
Saint Paul’s like a black bat,
was a clock the motion,
was a finger or a wheel the rim?
Faster and faster the past
passes its messengers,
outruns the pony express,
the Persian post;
meaning is lost,
lagging far behind;
up ahead, dumb and unseen,
generations untold
hunger to hear the vanished tongue
of silent Clusium.

No use;
deaf-mute history,
trapped like a rat,
forgets the morning
before the night.
Persepolis, Babylon,
the Acropolis;
monuments dear as your eyes,
Every one.

Who fell at Thermopylae?
Fired up Greeks
all in a heap;
no more than geraniums.
Who died exiting Egypt?
Face to face with the promised land,
Moses turned up his toes
at the woes of his race.
Look around; he was geraniums.
The horlogerie of Big Ben is magic;
surrender is timely, my sweet,
one petal the dial,
one pistil the hand,
striking clocks dumb,
all over the land;
from the garden of Eden
to kingdom come,
striking clocks dumb.

We’ve come no way
since the cock crowed;
three times Peter’s
“I know not”
the power of Christ denied.
In the nick of time,
ticking, ticking,
the alarm clock
annihilates the course of night;
we wake to the simple day.

The invisible theme of time is this:
enchanted eve or light of day,
what goes round comes round;
what comes round goes
right up the chimney,
up in smoke, up and disappears.
Bone-white, the wool is
pulled over our eyes,
quicker than the image of life
to a quark.
Backwards and forwards we go,
dipsy-doodle, two-headed gnu,
and where we stop,
everybody knows.

We’ve come a long way,
come no way;

we’re already there.

Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, Mind In Motion, Slow Dancer, The Antioch Review, Bay Area Poets’ Coalition, The University of Texas Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Piedmont Journal of Poetry and a number of other magazines. The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, N.Y. He was born in upstate New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired.