Monday, 5 June 2017

Geisterstunde

I

A whole new hour has appeared on the clock -
Not by physicists' edicts, nor by governmental decree,
Nor has word reached us from Geneva
Along with astronomers' astronomical fees.

This is no right-on think-tank's idea,
Nor is this done at the City's behest.
Who came up with it first nobody knows.
All sane folk will no doubt shelve it with the rest

Of the mad, bad notions, the wacky, the weird,
Odd socks in the drawer, loose change in the purse,
Spare screws unneeded, the needy unheeded,
Anyone who deviates, makes society worse.

No rogue hours for us, no change to our days,
Routine is our deity, St George is our prophet,
He guards our shores with spear, lance and shield,
And silences that risible Syrian gossip.

Let us gorge upon facts, the falser the better,
A fig upon fiction! Fill me up with fibs!
Any patriot knows, things can only look up
Now that immigrant children no longer have ... ribs.

II

Prior to this, you had a bolt-hour:
An hour of the clock you hid in,
Nestled between the ticks of the hands.
You took refuge there when daily murderous
Time swelled up, monstrous cavern-side
Shadow of Time grew fat on Time's Excess.
Your secret hour, loop-hour, cubby-hour, hidey-hour,
Squirreled you away from your average fears.
If asked to describe where on the clock
This witching hour could be found, you cannot.
Somewhere between twoish and threeish
In the morning..., you think, wink instead.
They'll never find it. It requires being awake
In those early hours, for one thing,
But it's more of a mental than a temporal space.
The Germans call it the Geisterstunde,
A word pregnant, bulbous, with meanings:
Hour of ghosts, yes, but the mind's hour, too,
The intellect's hour, hour of meditation.
You wandered the hushed and deserted streets, purpose-free,
In communion with your thoughts, with the stars,
With the silent stone of buildings that encroach upon,
That dirtily colonize, the night sky itself...

...when all at once you came across a second soul,
A busker, out too late for recompense of any worth,
But playing for playing's sake.
Her sad skeletal guitar she'd pulled from a skip;
The wire of her unkempt hair tangles with the curls
Of scraggly strings as she cradles music.
Her singing is the sound of chains.
You learn to be a willing listener, pay her heed
As she lays bare the ballad of her life to you.
Song upon song upon song she sings
And an hour seems as a thousand days
While all your days till now are but an hour.
What are you doing? What are you doing?
Hiding away in this hour of the night,
As far from daylight as a tyrannosaur fossil,
Brooding, brooding, ever brooding.
Get out of your hourglass. Just punch the clock.
Holding Time's Gift in your folded hands
Like a delicate insect, you prise them open,
Let loose this hour upon the world,
An hour of the mind. An hour of spirits.
No longer a mere meditating mantra
But unstoppable anarchy. You must change your life.

III

This is the News. Good evening to all of you at home.
The time is ... is ... is ... 

5 June 2017

No comments:

Post a Comment