The Mantle Clock

David Lewis Paget

I found I was left a mantle clock
The type that you wind by key,
It had stood upon my father’s shelf,
Now it came down to me.
Inside the clock I had found a note
Scrawled in my father’s hand,
‘You never must overwind the clock
For time is a shifting sand.’

That’s all that it said, that tiny note
And I’d wondered what he meant,
Surely he could have talked to me
And made it more evident.
But my father had been secretive
And never would say too much,
Just that his life had raced away
And left him behind, and such.

The end of his life had come too soon,
It certainly was a shock,
I found him sat alone in his chair
And pointing up at the clock,
It wasn’t until the afternoon
I noticed the clock had stopped,
Just as his heart had ceased to beat,
There wasn’t a tick, or tock.

I took it home and I placed it up
In pride of place on the shelf,
Over the wooden mantlepiece
And wound the thing up myself.
I just didn’t know how many times
I was meant to turn the key,
So probably over wound it then,
Not knowing what was to be.

Over the following week I found
The clock had been gaining time,
And thought, that’s probably what he meant,
Never to over wind,
I tried to adjust it back a bit
To change the rate of the pawl,
But found the cog was racing away
And speeding up overall.

No matter what I did to that clock
Its speed just wouldn’t be tamed,
I’d slow it down and it speeded up,
I felt I was being gamed,
But then I woke on a Wednesday and
I thought there was something strange,
The man on the news said ‘Thursday’,
Like the days had been rearranged.

The weeks and the months went flying by,
I still kept winding that clock,
Remembering how my father died,
I wouldn’t have dared to stop.
But then one day I forgot to wind
And it slowed, and took me aback,
I held the key, was about to wind
When I had my heart attack.

Luckily Joyce was in the room
Thank god for my lovely wife,
She seized the key and she wound it up
And probably saved my life.
I never forget to wind it now
That clock’s in sync with my heart,
But now my life is racing away
With the clock still playing its part.

David Lewis Paget

© 2017, David Lewis Paget. All rights reserved.

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