Time Piece

(In Memoriam – David Illingworth)

‘Anything worth doing will take longer than you think’

His eye stares out at me, enlarged beyond reasonable measure
behind the magnifying lens. Through optical intervention
he peers, analysing minute mechanisms – his stock-in-trade.

A clock is energy stored, human muscle or gravity, or both
harnessed and through an intricacy of cog, wheel, spring,
balance and counter-balance, channeled and released

in careful degree, to make the hands turn, the seconds move
the hour, the half and the quarter – to chime, to ring.
Each second moves its way inexorably towards the minute,

the minute to the hour – a sum of twenty-four – to make the day,
to begin anew. Such delicacy, such patience: to cast the bronze,
to tap the screw, to file the heads, to assemble each, into this

ticking, tocking, almost-alive mechanism. What is its measure?
What did he count? The difference between then and now?
Did he define the thing itself or his perception of it?

its metricity, he captured a bigger picture, like Harrison,
seeing time as a beautiful essence, an element, unknowable.
Each cog and spring bringing him closer to the truth.

Giles H. Sutherland
March 2009