The poem in question: Clockface Killed The Man
This is another poem that I wrote in class at BYU, this time in a Computer Science class. As I recall, it was an 8 a.m. class, and I never have been, nor do I suspect I ever will be, an 8 a.m. person. Also, the lecture was boring that day, and as I kept looking at the clock, a “Calvin and Hobbes” strip came to mind:
In my poem, the clock is anthropomorphized (a word I learned from another “Calvin and Hobbes” strip) as the entity Clockface. I don’t know if he is straight-up evil, but he undoubtedly relishes in the misery of people when time is not flying. When I envision Clockface, I picture a Mirror Universe amalgam of Cogsworth (from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”) and T.T. (from the Nintendo64 game “Diddy Kong Racing”). He probably has a goatee.
The person in the poem just wants to live life on his or her own terms, without the constrictions of where to be, when, and for how long. Of course Clockface insists on butting in and screwing those plans right up.
The beginning of the second verse (third stanza) is a reference to a “Dilbert” comic strip, back when it was still funny:
I have no idea how my poetic salad caused a hospital admission, but it seemed funny at the time, too.
This poem was meant to be a silly poking of fun at the passage of time, but at this point in my life I find a more ironic meaning the progression of the things Clockface says:
Dance for me and prance for me or I won’t let you go
Come to me, succumb to me; you’ll see no need to go
Savor me and favor me so I don’t have to let you go
As a younger man I was always looking forward to the next thing. I still do that now, twenty-and-more years later, but I am more keenly aware of my own mortality. Of course time cannot forever contain us; it’s Clockface’s lie to keep us eager for the future, without actually savoring the precious moments we are currently experiencing. We will inevitably arrive in the future regardless of our current state, so we should make the most of what we have now.
That isn’t to say the the present is always nice, and sometimes the future is all we have to look forward to when the right now is made bleak by forces beyond our control. But by selling us his lie of making the passable, and even pleasant, present seeming unbearable, Clockface steals from us the one thing we can never recover.
He definitely has a goatee.
As far as the writing style, I don’t have much to say except that one thing bothers me. In each of the “choruses” (stanzas 2, 4, and 6), the beginning of the third line has a little rhyme, (“dance for me and prance for me,” “come to me, succumb to me,” and “savor me and favor me”). I think it works nicely. However, the first verse (first stanza) also has a similar rhyme (“it’s mocking–how shocking!”), and I like it, but I did not replicate the pattern for the second and third verses (stanzas 3 and 5). I think it sticks out a bit.
Finally, when I read Clockface’s repeated line
Life beyond this torture will be one that you’ll never know
In my head, I hear “this torture” as sung by John Linnell of They Might Be Giants in “Don’t Let’s Start”:
D, world destruction
Over an overture
N, do I need
Apostrophe T, need this torture?
Here is the original handwritten version, largely unchanged from initial scrawl to finished copy: