Take time with me to ponder this.
A weary wanderer upon an empty shore
braced by the breeze that comes in from the sea
looks down and sees a watch upon the sand.
What does he think?
Perhaps “What luck! I’m having that”.
But no. Let us assume
he has a questioning mind.
He studies curiously the watch’s face;
It is predictably familiar for it’s a face
he’s looked at several times a day
for many years.
The hands suggest to him the hand of man.
But more than that, he thinks for sure
that watch was made, as well as worn, by man,
most probably a watch-maker. Oh, yes.
The watch is magic and can speak.
(Just humour me.)
It gives our beach-comber the gift of time.
Now he is blessed with immortality
but, as is common in such tales,
the watch imposes one condition.
If he should ever wish to leave the beach,
he must perform one simple task -
to deconstruct the watch
and put it back together.
He takes the watch apart most carefully,
undoing every tiny screw, releasing every spring,
which he can do
for happily he never wanders on the beach
without his trusty penknife
with its many useful tools,
including a small screwdriver,
much favoured by the army of the Swiss.
He holds a hundred different pieces in his hand.
He’s careful not to drop even the smallest part.
He’s made a mental note of every step
that he will need to put the watch together
for he is very keen he should not spend
eternity upon this windswept, lonely beach.
“There’s one more thing,” the watch’s voice declares,
(the watch itself no longer being a coherent whole
and capable of speech).
“To make the watch once more a working timepiece,
all you can do is toss the pieces in the air
and hope they come together as before.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” declares our friend.
“You know that can’t be done.”
The watch’s voice seems somewhat hurt.
“It’s not impossible” the voice insists,
“for that is how I came to be.
Sure, it took time
but, making you immortal,
allows you time enough.”
“What makes you think that you were made
by tossing bits and pieces in the air?”
asks our immortal comber of the beach.
“Who made the bits and pieces that were tossed?
Who did the tossing?
And who the hell would want a watch,
except a man who needs to tell the time?
“Look, I don’t make the rules”, the watch’s voice replies.
“You want to master time and live for ever,
take my advice. Start tossing.”
The man now shrugs and shakes his head.
“I don’t have time for this,” he says
and throws the hundred pieces
into the waves that lap the lonely beach.
The waves roll back and forth.
the pieces of the watch