The idea behind a poem, a memory in this case, a short story of a memory. How do you like you poems? Narratives, with a story running through or photographic, an idea condensed to words. At our poetry evening this month the subject style came up. We talked about how different ideas come in and out of fashion, I tend to write short blank verse, I like the imagist idea of condensing an idea to its smallest point. Paul Éluard is one of my favourites. I like to try different styles, yet time and again I heave out sections and words from my writing, searching for the most efficient way of saying something. Probably the reason I’ll never write a novel, not in a hurry anyway and why my wife thinks I hide everything I want to say. One of the group described it as somehow taking away the scaffolding from the words, then you cast the reader into the unknown, an interesting thought.

A Clocks Workings
A Clocks Workings


When it all ran like clockwork,
before the screens that lit up and you wound
a mechanical world of gears and springs.

In an attempt to save the radios, Grandad
brought home broken watches. Strapless and silent
I was looking for the reason to why they stopped.

I took them apart, carefully regarding the wheels and cogs,
guarding the screws and plates as they came apart.
Working through the layers collecting pins and pivots.

Then there was the time to rebuild them,
my Frankenstein watches. I never did find
the solution for such small puzzles.

What do you like in the work you read?
What about the layout and the effect it has on the words?
And also, can the words just sound good together with little narrative or idea?

Let me know what you think.

7 thoughts on “Clockwork

  1. Hey there, Jim:

    Liked – alluding to a time when things, events, happenings, agendas ran like clockwork (perhaps with concrete and understandable purpose) – things ran with precision, without delay or obstacle, a time we did not control, but participated in; A Clockwork Orange surfaces as allusion – a clockwork, the precision of action … with a different, somewhat obscene colour or flavour – highlighting deviation and individual difference in each of us in our passages through time.

    Grandad orients the reader to one’s childhood and in that relationship connects us as child to the elemental mystery of Life; precious Life seems more to be found in the radios, areas or means of communication and relationship while deadened timepieces orient to marked measurement of seasons and moments of Life – their use cannot be re-established. It would seem that communication and relationship are more pliable to innovation and assistance – they can be brought round to a better state.

    Frankenstein watches – is it likely that a deadened watch holds any parts that could cause another to work? ‘It is alive!,’ would certainly be a child’s healthy rejoinder to many moving parts working together of their own accord … and wouldn’t it be something to find a timepiece remedy, the knowledge or trick that turns back the hands of time so that the time piece along with ourselves were much younger? Time only moves forward and time pieces wear out … perhaps the allusion is to our being a time piece of sorts – once worn through we work no further.

    The layout works in terms of laying out easily graspable chunks of memory and moments or perhaps glimpses of hoped-for possibility. Disillusionment is the result – time piece dissection, seeing time for what time is, is where we arrive – Life-wise.

    Take care … 😉


  2. I tend to like pieces that play with words and imagery. In poetry, I love it when writers put two unlikely words together. In stories, my favorite writers find a unique way to describe something, usually an unexpected, unrelated phrase that makes a strong connection. In short, I suppose I like to be surprised. 🙂


  3. How would you write the poem if you had to write it in different ways, and would it carry the same meaning, or sense of story? Like perhaps write it from the perspective as part to a watch, a foundation part, a team part, or a part like one of the hands, the leader to the team. Or perhaps as an observe to you, and the watches, Or perhaps as time itself. How different might each narrative be, when the variables become expressed from different points of view to their handling?

    No, it is much like writing a novel, one rattles it out, and then goes back and cuts the vast chunks out which fail to support the narrative, sometimes entire characters and sub plots can become irrelevant, and so must go too. Leaving just the structures to rendered upon their foundations with the removal of all obsolete supports made use of during construction. Can not have them obscuring the view from within, and without..


    1. Earlier this year, when writing in April for poem a day, I had the chance to go back to some old pieces of writing I had in my notebooks. Looking at it and making sweeping changes was very interesting. Interesting comparison with novel writing. Changing points of view, something I think I will need to try in the future. A good idea to try. Thanks for popping in and taking time.



      1. Sorry for the slow reply, been of the net for a family week. It’s interesting how some phrases won’t go away, others that I thought worked are dropped without a second look. I’m entering some in competitions so can’t post them yet, but maybe later in the new year I’ll get the chance. As for better, maybe just different. A change of perspective in poetry can alter the entire idea can’t it.



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