Today I stopped the parish clock
and while the village slept,
at the point where summer time
falls back into winter,
with one hand, I held back time
and let seconds fly
directionless and haphazard
around the steepled tower,
like gnats dancing over a summer pond.
The iron hands stood frozen
to each moonish clock-face
at five minutes-to the mute and silent hour.
Instead of rounded golden chimes
rolling out over field and rooftop
there was silence
and the pigeons in the bell chamber
slept on undisturbed.
And all I heard was the beating of the wind against the tower
as I rubbed shoulders with God and angels in this place beyond time.
For a while I watched the village slumber
from the unlatched door high up
on the side of the old stone tower.
A guardian of this time of no time.
The ticking watch on my wrist counted out the untrod
minutes upon which no one had yet walked...
... or loved
.... or danced.
In that silence,
I tasted each moment;
and precious quarter hours
that those below had yet to live.
Is this what it feels like to be God?
To be standing in the dark outside time?
Is this the eternity of which my soul dreams?
Where seconds are born
then slew back upon themselves
to be reborn later?
the fox, hare and badger?
Those that run as wild as wind
Unaware of the clock not ticking
Or the hands not moving.
For an hour, with one hand
I held back time
and set eternity loose
among the streets and alleyways.
And the village below me
slept on, unknowing.
And my eye travelled up
to the smudge of woodland
on a high brow of hill
Where eternity always breaks in.
* Background music composed, performed and recorded by Helen Ingram