Jan 26th – Time was running out and his watch had stopped dead

January 26th – Time was running out and his watch had stopped dead

23.46-23.56

When he was very young: four,

or five, maybe, he clocked

his grandfather’s watch on the

old man’s wrist. Solid, chunky,

his father’s father in metal,

hooped in steel around weathered

skin. He liked to play with it,

toying with the heavy bands,

slipping it up past the elbow

of his slender arm. One day,

his grandfather smiled, this

will be yours. He didn’t understand

the answer to his innocent words,

not then; how could he?

His grandfather would always

be around, and he was, until the day

he wasn’t. He wanted you to have this,

his father said, days after they

turned him into smoke,

the old man who had always

been around. And now that watch

was his, a relic of the past,

seven countries away from the

sitting room with pictures of ships

and charts of the world.

Along with the watch, he was left

restlessness, a longing for places

across the fold of the map.

The sea called him, always,

even when the mountains

of home rose to the sky

and pierced the clouds with unforgiving

peaks. The sea called him, again,

when the only waves tumbled

across cornfields and rippled

through the trees. The sea called.

The watch stopped. There’s nothing

I can do, the jeweller said,

in another language, in another home,

I’m sorry. He kept it on his wrist,

the dead watch from a dead man,

and measured out his time

in seasons. And still the sea called.

And still he found his home far

from the shore, where traffic

navigated the channels, and

curved glass buildings sailed to nowhere.

And still the sea called. And still

he looked at the dead time

on his left wrist, and spoke again

of moving on, charting a new course.

I must go down to the sea again,

To the lonely sea and the sky,

the words went, and he knew,

as he had always known, that

he would one day find himself there.

 

 

Inspired by a prompt from here

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Jan 26th – Time was running out and his watch had stopped dead

  1. Goodness Matt, brilliant. Although that quote ALWAYS makes me think of Spike’s take on it:

    “I must go down to the sea again,
    To the lonely sea and the sky,
    I left my pants and vest there,
    I wonder if they’re dry”

    Liked by 1 person

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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