05 May 2012
No Time, No, I Mean No Time
I briefly read a history of time some time ago. I briefly understood
it, well most of it, then I thought about it. Then I went into a kind of
melt down because time began just after the big bang, that was my first
problem. If there was no time, how could it start after, I mean, what
does after, or before, or simultaneous mean if time doesn't exist yet?
Yet? What on earth do I mean by yet? Well I mean that since there was no
time, I can't use words like after, before or since can I? Oh, it's
happened again already. Ouch! Already? I'll have to think about that.
You see, I'm trying to figure out that while there was no time... There I
go again, While? What's While?
OK Back to my first question. Could time have started at the same time
as... erm, well what I mean is we can't put an exact moment on anything
that happened before the big bang, umm: look, can you for a moment
ignore the first paragraph and let me explain this or time will run out
before I get half way.
Now there's another question altogether. How much time do we have
before it runs out? I mean, why should it be limitless, nothing else is?
Ever since a clerk at the patent office in Bern got a bit shirty with
light speeding past him we've known that there's a limit beyond which
even light cannot go, and that regulates the relativity of time. Go
faster and time slows down, reach the speed limit and time stops, I
think. You could live forever, except that no time would pass, so would
you be aware that you're living a long time? Sorry, time is standing
still, not moving, and because we are creatures in time we might not be
aware at all, so the moment at which time stands still you will remain
like that forever, like when when you were a snotty nosed kid and you
make faces when the wind changes. At least until you slow down enough
for time to start moving again.
Another question. If you really applied the brakes, as you slow down
time gets back to normal, albeit sometime in the distant future. But if
you keep on slowing down and time gets faster and faster until when you
come to a halt: does all of time happen at that instant? You know you've
heard of newspaper reports where people just disappeared into thin air,
well reports of reports in newspapers, I used to read them in Wired
Magazine, no, sorry, I meant Weird Magazine, and Twilight Zone and
stuff, all absolutely true – so they said about some of it. Anyway, we
don't stop do we. We're standing on the surface of a planet and that
surface is travelling at fair old lick since we're not at the North or
South Poles. It's a bit more than a thousand miles an hour if you're at
the equator. The planet is moving around the sun. That's going at a fair
old lick too. The sun is at the outer edge of one of the spirals of our
galaxy which is turning, spinning around like a kids spinning top, and
us at outer edge, we're really shifting along, and on top of all that,
the universe is getting bigger so the galaxy is burning serious rubber
away from the others, well it would be if the galaxy was on wheels.
Now, we are walking around, or driving, or we're on a train, a boat or a
plane, and at the same time (that word again) the earth is spinning at
whatever speed depending on where we are, at something between nothing
and a thousand miles an hour, and the earth is hurtling round the sun in
it's goldilocks orbit, and the sun is shifting around at the edge of
the galaxy and the galaxy is hammering along and is likely to keep doing
that until says hello to another galaxy.
So, what if, on top of all that spinning and shifting and spinning and
shifting and spinning and shifting you were walking down the street and
you saw someone being mugged, and you began to run after the mugger, and
all those different movements all came together and for a moment you
were not moving, for you the total movement became zero. All of time
would happen all at once and you'd instantly live out the rest of your
life and disappear into a small pile of dust which would fall to the
ground about thirty-three centuries from later.
But you wouldn't know that, you'd just hurtle into some place where
it's all happening, I really mean all of it, it's really all happening,
it's so much all happening that all your tomorrows come at once, what a
However, Weird Magazine and the Twilight Zone, and probably Wired
Magazine, would have a field day, several in fact, as they take day
trippers to the hallowed paving stones of the disappearance and others
mount a vigil, with hourly searches in an attempt to find the evidence
of human remains at the very scene, the actual place where all the
happenings happened, provided of course, that they have TheFED's take on
Where were we, oh yes, the big bang, exactly when did it happen? Well,
bearing in mind all that has been said here, I think there's a case for
saying it happened when you chased the mugger, and since you haven't
done that yet, as you're reading this so you couldn't have, therefore we
are living in a time before the big bang. It's not going to happen
until next year, end of March, or maybe very early April. So now we
know what was before the big bang, except that it only hasn't happened
yet because that time and place where it's all happening, really all
happening, hasn't happened yet, but when it does all time happens at
once so the big bang came out at something like 13 or 14 billion years
ago, long before now so we don't know what went before the big bang,
apart from the fact that someone nicked an old woman's purse.
Now what if the mugger meets one of those inspirational teachers who
persuades him or her, because after nearly 14 billion years
investigating we still don't know who it was, that it would be a good
idea to take up the study of astrophysics and the mugging doesn't
happen. So you don't chase the mugger, so you don't reach the point of
no movement, so the place where it's all happening, I mean really really
all happening doesn't happen. So the big bang doesn't happen next year,
so we don't happen. What then?
At this point, can I ask you to reread the first paragraph, it should make more sense now, relatively speaking.
Newham Writers Workshop
Time of words
I woke up in fear,
The clock showed the time,
There was a glimmer of hope,
But a very strange feel,
The secret was out,
Of my turbulent past,
I could see the stars shining,
Just past the gate,
The path led the way,
But I still felt lost.
This month's timely challenge - confused? you will be...
It takes time to find a rhyme that rhymes with time
There’s no rhyme nor reason why
I’m having a trying time trying to find time to make a rhyme
That goes with time, just like my time that slips away
That I’m trying to make to make a rhyme that goes with time
I may even be just in time this time for the deadline
High Peak Writers
Boil under a tranquil sky
A solitary star blazes
Giving hope to the lost
A safe pathway home
Strange times indeed
Gates opening to the unknown
Realms of darkness
We live in fear
Time. I look down at
my gold watch,
Time is something I
Time for this or time
Time for me? Most
Time, it waits for no
Time started long ago,
At least its constant
Not to fast, nor slow.
Time it makes
Buses, trains and
Solar, digital or wind
Even these make little
Time is precious to us
DON'T WASTE IT!
Time stands still when
Thinking about the fear
that awaits me?
It’s strange how I
see so many paths criss-crossed in my mind.
Like stars in a dark
I’m lost in a world
of unknown secrets.
Longing to escape to
silently, plagued by my thoughts,
Where hope doesn’t
Where voices don’t
A stone gate remains
or THE ELASTIC NATURE OF TIME
1. A nearness in place
2. A nearness in time
3. A closeness as of relation; kindred
They had developed a problem talking, communicating-or anyway he had,
since she’d grownup. A tough taciturn man he was never much in the way
of words. And they were never much in the way of him. He never had much
use for them anyway. He knew what he knew, and that was it pretty much.
He could get across what he needed to when he needed to, used to anyhow.
When she was younger it was easier. She had needed him then, had sought
his counsel or comfort or company. There was a divide between them then
but a bridge across it. The bridge had grown rickety, precarious,
perhaps collapsed altogether. He did not know. They hadn’t seen each
other for awhile.
Edward Paul knew only two things, well three, in any depth: tough,
masterful, hard headed patience and racing pigeons. Born one and raised
the other, he liked the gentle sound of their sound coo, their tranquil
calmness when you reached in the pen. They were not as nasty in
temperament as chickens. They did not squawk and flop around the pen,
flapping about like other birds. Theirs was an almost feminine trust.
And they always came home. No matter how far away they flew, they always
Kate was coming home. She had been away to college, had finished awhile
ago. He hadn’t been able to make it to her commencement. It had been on
the other side of the country.
She had gone off to college four years ago, but the distance was
already growing by then, normal teen stuff, aggravated by her mother. He
had given her some advice when she had left.
“And if I see you in any of those “Girls gone wild” commercials on cable I’m going to kick your ass.”
She just rolled her eyes in mock exasperation,
“Yeah,” was all she said.
The third thing he knew, had come to know recently, was the plasticity
of time. The flexibility of it. The way it stretched and folded over on
itself. How it could be a far and distant relic, the disintegrating past
one moment: the fading of faces like old photographs, the wisps and
fragments of phrases from old conversations only remaining. And the next
a tangible and urgent thing all around you as real as the day you first
When she was littler she would help him with the pigeons. Her mother
would have nothing to do with it. She’d spend hours with him, asking
questions and enjoying the company. When he and her mother split up it
had left Katie devastated. It had been hard on all of them. Her mother
least of all, he thought bitterly.
They still talked from time to time, though ever more infrequently.
Sometimes she called him and sometimes he called her. The pauses in
conversation were longer and more frequent. Even through the silence he
felt a yearning, a powerful yen, he could feel coming out of him and
traveling the phone line. He thought it was the same on her end. They
had a good talk maybe one in ten conversations. It was a constant
struggle to stay connected. Now he would see her in person for the first
time in four years.
And then suddenly time stretched, folded in on itself: and he is
sitting on the porch nearly twenty years earlier. Kate is playing on the
floor. She is three and can’t stop talking for the life of her. She is
worse than her mother. He sits on the swing lighting a cigarette.
“What are you doin’, Dad? Dad. Are going to ‘moke a ‘moke? Are you? Is
that what you’re doing?” Her voice has a sing song, cadence quality to
He had a small place he called home, only five acres standing off a
country road in the trees, quiet and secluded. It was alee of the world,
sheltered and secure, shaded and shadowed at this time of the day. The
gravel drive curved up from the road, seen through a screen of small
trees. This time of morning it was a cool glade, chilled in the shade,
with here and there pockets of sunshine. He stood on the porch, itching
to go back to the pigeon coops but not wanting to miss her arrival. It
seemed important to witness her pulling up.
She came rolling up the drive a half hour later or so. A small,
nervous, strained smile on her face and a radiant suppressed joy that
hurt his heart a little to see. Things were much more complicated now,
that she should be so cautious of expressing her feelings, seemed to him
the epitome of the distance between them. We don’t get to see each
other enough for a comfortable state of affairs, he thought ruefully.
Also, she often looked as if she expected something from him, and he
wasn’t sure what. He had to remind himself again and again that she was a
woman now. And if she expected something from you, you had better
understand what it was, or she was likely to get upset. The gulf
“Hey Sweetie.” The small strained smile was on his face now. He was happy to see her.
“Hey.” She said, and her smile brightened.
“How you been?”
“Good.” They stood there a moment too long.
“So how’s the job hunt going?”
She looked bleak. “Nothing yet.”
“Yeah.” She said it without much hope.
He smiled confident and reassuring.
“Gimme a hug.” She smiled again. He rubbed her back and patted three
times and let her go. She pulled back surprised, happy to the point of
“That’s how you hugged me when I was a little girl.”
“Was it?” He did not remember. It just seemed the right way to do it.
“Place looks the same.”
“Yeah. I keep it up as best I can.”
“I love it.”
“Well, I’ll leave it to you when I go.”
“Don’t say that.” She said, serious and alarmed.
“I’m not going anywhere.” That was her damn mother's doing he thought.
Kate seemed always afraid of loss, of being alone. The thought of losing
either of her parents haunted her. Ed had always hoped she would
outgrow it. She probably would; she was young yet, but it still filled
him with a helpless anger and frustrated love. He knew there wasn’t a
damn thing he could do about it.
“I know. And you know I don’t like when you say stuff like that.”
“All right.” He wanted to feel annoyed, but he felt mostly chagrin.
They stood there a moment longer, unsure of what to say.
“So. Everything going good for you?”
“Yeah. Ok. Pretty good.” She had a slightly guarded quality as thought
the question were too personal. And suddenly time stretched again: and
it is six years ago. She is sixteen and has called just to talk. She
begins to tell him about her period.
“Oh, honey, we don’t ever need to talk about that. Please.”
“Why?” She laughs at him.
“We just don’t. Really, if you need to talk about it, talk to your mom, please.”
“All right,” is all she says, exasperated and amused.
“So what’s new with you?”
“Huh?’ He snapped back to now. His reverie broken.
“Oh! I got some new pigeons.”
“Yeah?” “Want to see?”
“Sure.” They headed around back to the coops.
“They’re a couple of beauties.”
“When did you get them?”
“Couple of months ago. They’re just about ready for their first flight.”
“Today?” She seemed excited.
“Maybe,” He teased. They headed back through the bright, open backyard
sunlight streamed down upon them. It was warm and diffuse, the color of
honey and wrapped them in its golden glow.
“So you been staying out of trouble?”
“Ye-es.” She said impatiently.
“Ok. Good. Still with what’s his name?”
“Oh.” He seemed surprised. “It’s going good then.”
“Yes.” She was angry. She knew what he meant. “I’m not my mother.”
“I do.” He said tersely.
“I love my mom, you know.”
“I know.” He felt impatience coming on. This was an old beef between
them. He figured he had a right to ask. It was part of his job.
They got to the coops both a little angry now. She as hard headed as he
is. Everything flexed, shifted, stretched for a moment like taffy.
Margaret is standing in the kitchen, looking younger and more beautiful
than he ever remembers her being. Kate is five and being pigheaded about
something. “You need to do something about your daughter.” He tells
“Yeah. Your daughter.”
Magaret just laughs a sound like tinkling piano keys being run up the
scale. The sound sets a rill running up his back, along his arms. His
heart begins to beat a little faster. And he realizes he loves her so
much it hurts.
“I don’t know what you want me to do about it. She’s
yours through and through you know.”
“Well here they are.”
“Yeah.” He smiled. It felt strained. He wanted to tell her all manner
of things. About how it was. But she knew. And he resented the fact a
little that they would all seem like justifications and
rationalizations, of what had been and what was. The past defined the
present and the future, except about the future it was yet to be seen
how much. Besides, all those things, the past and the history, the joy
and the pain, were all just phantoms, specters of memory now. But they
seemed the most substantial thing between them.
And suddenly it is dark, night and long gone. A heat wave has just
broke, and the star-strewn sky is as clear as a bitter winter’s night.
They are sitting in lawn chairs in the middle of the yard. Kate is five
and very, very serious and grownup in her demeanor. This amuses him
because her feet are kicking and swinging like any kids. They don’t
reach the ground. He points out to her the few constellations he knows.
“Oh.” They sit for awhile in easy silence.
“Do you love my mom?”
“Yes. I do.”
“And will we always be together, a family?”
“Yes,” he smiles, “always.”
Her phone rang and yanked him back to now, and the guilt he feels is
sharp and new. Did he lie to her then? Were he and Margaret failing even
then? He can’t remember for sure.
“That’s mom. She’s getting impatient. I gotta go.”
“You just got here. You see her all the time.” He resented some always being second to Margaret.
“I know. I’m sorry. I’ll come over again. Before I get a job. I
promise. Right now I got to get home.” He winced a little at that. That
she should not find this home anymore, that home was wherever Margaret
And then there is a crease, a folding in time, and it is 1999. Kate is
seven. She feels confused and angry.
“When we first went away and I
didn’t like anybody. I knew you would come for me. I just knew you
would. So I waited and I waited for you to come and take me home. But
you never did. Why didn’t you come and bring me home?”
There is a pain in his chest; a sharp wedge, like metal, that penetrates much deeper than his spine.
He walked her back to her car and then watched her leave. It took
everything he had not to try desperately to get her to stay a little
longer, to force the connection. One in ten wasn’t all that bad as odd’s
go. But still he felt a need to cling and to keep her his baby forever.
He walked back to the coops lost in thought. The day had become
overcast, and the yard was dull and gray. He got out his new racing
pigeon. Not that he ever actually raced them. He just liked to raise
them and then see if they came back when you let them go.
He held the pigeon in his hands tightly. He could feel its fragile
hollow bones. It’s pounding heart. Its body heat was immense. Without
thinking he clutched a little tighter. He felt feathers stiff and
resistant against his palms. Did he really want to do this? Give it up?
Inadvertently his hands tightened a little more. The pigeon squirmed
some under the pressure. It was not alarmed. It knew him. His eyes were
very far away and very dark, mournful. His body was intensely still.
Even those that knew him would have said he looked very angry. The
pigeon was very alive and very warm between his clutching hands. He was holding it too tightly. Suddenly he
flung it up with both hands. He did not watch it fly away.
Thomas M Ritchie
The sky looks grey
with tears shed overnight,
leaving the garden with broken stems.
Petals like snow
cover the sodden leaves
snails no longer the enemy.
Autumn winds blow
as Summer leaves with a roar.
© SALLY FLOOD
NEWHAM WRITERS (MONDAY AFTERNOON)
Time...the beauty of the thought of heaven
I see the face in front of me...a photograph
The times we had together...this follows my death bed letter
I always loved you - although I was frightened of you
You knew that...why oh why did it all go wrong?
This my prayer, I never thought I would pray
But, you are gone, and I am here, where would our love be
Without the time we had together
Remember those days, remember...
We spoke on the telephone line, and sometimes
In the middle of night....
A year went by, we spoke on the CB radio
The telephone, it was so like a chat line
On the social network of a computer
But you found me, you raised me up, you raised me up
From the depths of despair
I ran away when that blind date became real
I ran away, but you called me back
You knew, I knew, we got together
And life became a fresh,
The world I thought would last forever
You are gone now...we had a son
I had children, you took them on
We had our troubles, we got divorced
But then after the time of years sped by
We found a moment to speak, to be civil, to become
Time evolves like a spinning wheel
You start at the beginning, you climb through a web
You cry, you laugh, you sense, you wonder and then...
The time is back to whence it began, except
So many years later....
Two months, two months, then you were gone
I just had to write you a letter
It went away with you...I thought I could cope
But now I know, this verse just had to be written
Its like, you are still there...you are - still in my heart
And the trial of love, hate, distant betrayal of only we two knew
Can lay its head into the realms of the time of Christ
(Member of GROW)
It is life’s compass
Always pointing north.
Perpetually in short supply
Dreams battle duty
Just one chance
To reach for ‘that star’.
Career or family?
Love or money?
Leisure time or luxury?
We all strive for both.
Always pointing north…
G.R.O.W. and Shorelink Community Writers
Cannot see, cannot sense, from whence I was, to where I am
A time emotion, sideways time - The door appears in my mind
It is focused through an eye, the door is the eye
The archives of mind travel a distant line from inside the truth of life.
And there it is - another door in the hall where fathers art equipment is kept -
yet at night, I wake within a dream - I'm inside that door on a boat, travelling
the high seas - then I wake, then it faded -
The door was still there the last I saw it - the real door, no art equipment inside
- no father alive -
That door had a handle, it was in a council house
The angel of further life brought this door to me -
Cannot see, cannot sense, from whence I was, to where I am....
The door is my eye to life.
(Member of GROW)
(after finding the word twice in a 30 line poem)
Overleaf, next line down, ahead of a favoured
blind spot, someone has been expediting the page;
everyone expects evenly paced excitement:
a shooting star-less night to follow day,
somebody getting their ducks in a row,
(mallards probably), or the orderly rush
in and out of love. But, ‘suddenly’ turns up
and it’s too much at once, the form deriding
its purpose, as the trisyllabic slowcoach,
with sleight of word, switches the frame of reference.
No wonder, ‘suddenly’ has fled the vernacular,
to be replaced by ‘Then’ and ‘Guess what?’;
we haven’t got the time to give pigs slow release
parachutes and then teach them sky-diving
JUST A VOICE-OVER
actor I, who, with a merry band
boards up and down the land.
But I am
older, and don’t look so good,
character is made of plasticine, cloth and wood.
want my dulcet tones
everyone, I am the voice of…
And I earn
As I speak
the childish dialogue ably;
not really me.
cartoons and digital people,
always be, just a bee.
If I could
get a cameo roll in a soap opera
‘em who’s the actor.
I put my
earphones on, and cough gently.
we going today –
the grocers, the sweet-shop, the garden-party?
I died on
page one. Still, there’s always the re-runs!
Crime of the Time
I look through my window at kids in the street
Who are kicking a car in;
A bunch of young sicks, just out there for kicks.
But I mind my own business, I don’t get involved.
I’m no longer shocked; I just keep my door locked
And hope while at home that they’ll leave me alone.
I never go out of my house after dark.
It just isn’t safe.
They’re all up to no good in my neighbourhood.
People dealing and stealing; they’ve knives, drugs and booze.
I’ve got too much to lose and although it may bug me
I stay home at night ‘cause I won’t let them mug me.
So I lock myself in and I watch my T.V.
Which confirms all the ills of society;
Showing violence and crime and sex all the time.
It’s a solitary life, but I still sleep at night
And by day I’m not bored
Because I’ve taught myself to do internet fraud!
Newham Writers (Monday Group)
Oh Tall Green Tree
I looked out from my kitchen window at the tall green tree blowing in
the breeze. With branches stretched out, like welcome arms. Protecting
land and farms from harsh wind and rain, waiting for summer to return
Oh tall green tree, what you mean to me.
As youngsters we climbed your lofty branches, playing pirates, looking
out to sea. When we fell in love we carved our initials on you. This
was sacred to you and me.
Oh tall green tree, what you mean to me.
We had picnics under your leafy green boughs, protection from the sun, watching the sheep, listening to the lowing cows.
Oh tall green tree, what you mean to me.
You are a landmark to lost travellers, a resting place to people who
have reached their journey's end. It's a comfort to be in the shade
with a close friend.
Oh tall green tree, what you mean to me.
What is the Time?
Waking up the other morning, I put my radio on, listening for the time.
I also glanced at my watch on the bedsie cabinet. I then became aware
of how important time is to all of us. We must take notice of our
body-clocks, which rell us when we are tired and need to sleep. It also
reminds us when we are hungry and thirsty. Right from the beginning it
takes nine months to be born. Even then, nature decides on our arrival
time. It's true some women have designer babies, but you still cannot
order a delivery time. There is a time when we become teenagers and
then adults. Then we have a period when we have to choose where we are
going in life. Most of us spend a period of time in hospitals.
Unfortunately, for some of us we go though a bereavement time. But then
again we have a wonderful time watching our children growing up. Then
we advance into our twilight years having progressed through a lifetime
of experiences. Sadly we cannot stop. The GRIM REAPER who has no
respect for anyone or any time. So why we can, try to remember to give
time to other people who will have time for you. After all sharing your
lifetime is what it's all about. Smile and be happy.
can be something relentless about time
ticking, alarms splitting
rushing to be somewhere else
minutes, seconds, milliseconds
the years and adding to fears
mirrors and numbers and history books
each day the sun rises
and golden and all the birds sing.
earth turns and the rivers flow
mountains and dinosaurs come and go.
a rhythm within thats no beginning, no end
singing creation’s song.
don’t be overcome by time when it bleeps and flashes and divides
up and out and on and on....
Universe is endless
We are One.
a workshop entitled..Time. September 2010