Longcase Clock

In the farmhouse parlour for unmeasured years
in silence, a presence without reverberation.

Hefty, magisterial, its chimes once reached
the furthest corners of all rooms, stirred hardened dust,

each half-hour marked by a note waveringly clear
as a tuning fork’s – tingling the flesh of wax-honeyed pine.

The clock casts the warm shadow of household god, familiar;
laid flat, it is roughly the length that will carry us out

into silence. How comforting it would be
to pull the case-door open and, in that cool space,

draw the chains slowly through your fingers,
instil a rhythm that could gauge time’s oceanic sift

through hourglass waves. Four gilded shells frame the dial;
under the single hand, a plant of strawberries ripens.

Behind the cracked parchment of its face, the clock waits
like a polite guest who would speak, but only

at the right moment, into a perfect silence.