52 Poems for 2013, 5/52: Time Acts Mean

Douglas Thompson shares with us his poem ‘Time Acts Mean’.

This is the fifth poem in Douglas Thompson’s 52-poem sequence (one a week) for 2013.


only time,
gives our actions meanings
say goodnight
to the milkman
three pints tomorrow
to the bus conductor
off-peak return please
to your wife in bed
and life quickly dissolves
in a torrent of lost meaning
a life out of sequence
is no life at all.

only time,
makes our actions meaningless
the endless routines
the banality of nine to five
shirts pressed meals cooked
the tyranny of habit
makes life a barter with death
why not forget it then?
to be born each morning
then dying every night:
a life without memory
is life without regret.

at last,
only time,
can act upon our meanings
your perfect beauty
decaying into dust
my casual remarks
immortalised in retrospect, perhaps
the difference between thought and touch
perpetuity and transience
reveals the truth of life:
that time cannot be wasted
if action soothes thinking
and thinking enriches acts.


Read Douglas’ reflections on the poem at his blog.

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Filed in News, Stories on January 30, 2013