The Ancient Modern
Never By the Clock / Joshua Alan Sturgill
I have a fragile hour to spend each morning, a glowing filament of time, a seedling to be cached and sheltered from busyness. How will I care for my hour? I’ve lost threads before, on the kitchen counter, among dishes and ingredients. How bland the meal tastes without its saffron.
Where can I keep you safe, my hour? Gift of shelter that must be sheltered from busyness and bluster. Gift easily taken. There are enemies about: anxiety, lethargy, urgency. My little hour! How bland the morning tastes without its tea.
I will keep my hour unattached. I’ll smuggle it to Aix or Limerick. I’ll bury it beneath some old French oaks, or by the stream at King John’s Castle bridge. I’ll remember it in the hot light of June; I’ll sew it into the leaves of Autumn anticipation. How soft my hour is in Winer light.
If I have paint at hand, I’ll record my hour in greys and greens for oaks, and Prussian Blue for moody skies, or ochre for the soft banks of the stream. I’ll paint a secret for my hour. And when my hour speaks, I’ll hush the world. How musical the silence of my hour.
Here’s an unplotted door. Here’s an open gate. Here’s an hour, offered without time. What measures time? What measures quality of time? I think of states of time—of liquid, solid, gas. I make my hour crystal—how can something so unbending be so bright?
I make my hour a plate glass passageway, a set of birthday gemstones—each cut to coincide with celebration, each unique. So different from the rough, unvaried ore of normal time. I release my day. How bland the day proceeds without its prayers.
I have a fragile hour to hide. I measure her by weight of worth. She sleeps the sleep of alabaster gods; she watches for the dawn. I measure her with breath, with psalms and sutras. I watch her measure me. How beautiful my hour is. I never press her skin against the clock.