Magazine article National Forum

Tower Clock

Magazine article National Forum

Tower Clock

Article excerpt

Red digits at Smithsonian flash Universal Time,

atomic clock shows me fourteen seconds fast.

Easy: pull out the Wittnauer's tiny stem, see

the sweep-hand freeze 'til LEDs catch up, then snap

I am synchronized, my life reset to standard.

What bliss to know I am on time, exultant, exacting, correct!

I parade among the patrons, their digitals and Mickey Mouses

off by miles. I gloat at stopped grandfathers, silenced chimes,

giant springs untensed, gears idle. I know

what it is. I am what time it is.

Once upon a time there were no time zones,

no standard Greenwich Mean, no radioactive right.

The clock in each town's highest church was absolute

enough, rang when sun passed overheard. Montauk, Le

each noon different. Bethel, Willow Hill, Smithton. . .

not just minutes; maybe hours, even years apart.

From fine two-story thread huge weight swings

one true north and south; toppled markers prove

earth's rotation. …

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