Swinging on the Clock


You'd have to wonder, was it fear or freedom on his mind

When he abandoned his new car on the dealer's lot

That bright blue morning the ambulance 

Took him for a ride and never returned.

Shot the chance to close the trade

And never called to say why or what;

Just left some poor schmuck Loman

Swinging on the clock, losing his month.


Well, that's what we do on our way out.

Release, betray, forfeit out of hand

the vital urgencies, phantoms, 

defining tangibles, relativities.


Calendared hopes, promises, plans

momentous matters, all scatter like

Fragments of anachronistic time;

Pockets of loose ambitions empty,

Small change tossed into the wind;

Solemn vows, grander reasonings,

shed their gravity, fade to inconsequence

Vaporize in the slight breath of the passage.

And it doesn't matter what's cooking up for lunch

Or how to end the last thought . . .


Is it fear, or envy of the freedom

Breeds a widow’s weeds, resentment?


About this: The anniversary of my father’s death almost 30 years ago had me recalling small details of the day, and thinking about them from the perspective of other people who were momentarily affected, as for example, the car salesman with whom he had an appointment that he failed to keep that morning.  That episode seemed defining––death being the abandonment of all the attributes, details, promises we have woven together into a fabric we call life.

 © Philip Knight 2018