Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


Time II

Time is a dog which haunts you –
         is a wolf which stalks you –
         hangs, like guilt, round your neck
         dragging you down to the grave.

Like Light it allows you
         to perceive only a little –
         lays bare Man's mortality.

16 October 1978

This poem has never been published before. Light appears in many of my poems, thirty of my adult poems (i.e. the poems from #453 on), and I suspect will appear in a lot of the juvenilia too. Light is, at least in my head, synonymous with truth and in my early poems both are often capitalised. Not sure where I picked up that habit from. It wasn’t from Emily Dickinson because I’ve only read her recently. Clearly I’m doing it to give additional emphasis to the words so I’m a little surprised I didn’t capitalise ‘guilt’ here too. The dog is the same one from ‘Stray’ and he appears in other poems too. For a cat person there are a surprising number of dogs in my poems. I would guess too this is the first time I use outdents to signify the beginnings of sentences. Not really needed here though as the separate stanzas do that quite nicely.


Marc PoKempner, "Tenement Dog," 1974,
Chicago Photography Collective, Chicago


Kass said...

"...time, like guilt..."
"...dragging you down to the grave."

At my age, it's more like galloping than a slow drag.

Nice poem.

Jim Murdoch said...

My father told me time would speed up as I got older, Kass. I thought he was havering but the older I get the more I find the days pass like hours. What’s interesting to me is that I’d write a poem like this when I was still in my teens.

Kass said...

Yes, I suppose you have always been interesting.

Jim Murdoch said...

I would like to think so, Kass. Other adjectives have been used over the years.

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