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Tick Tock

by itcametomeinadream 

Posted: 28 August 2009
Word Count: 175
Summary: A second draft - fairly brutally revised. As ever, any comments whatsoever are much appreciated :)

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The accursed clock-click time
The rightful subject of anarchist hatred
The ticking, incessant, constant reminder
Of what isn't there and can never be and probably never was

The sound, not as I remember
A note or two higher, out of tune
A glance that asks
Did the second hand really move backwards?

A moment's rage is all that's required
To shatter the smallest units of time
Supposedly needed to keep us alive

If we swept up the fragments
Sent them off to the lab
They would know
Their processes would tell them, tell everyone
And then we'd all have to live by it or be damned

They'd count seconds that were once hours
Drifting through their fingers
Grains of sand through an hourglass
The sundial that should mark days
Lies broken in the shade
Of so much piss-stained Saturday-night glass

We're never told the truth:
Our days are counted in heartbeats
A finite number, trickling down to zero
The reason athletes age so fast

A man measured in years
A butterfly weeks
A fly, days

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Comments by other Members

paul53 [for I am he] at 10:31 on 05 September 2009  Report this post
Hi Andy,

What we have here is a good first draft; the end result of creatively considering one of life's universal bugbears: us versus the ticking away of our alloted time.
All the ingredients are assembled; all the various thoughts; all the angles viewed.
Now comes the hard part: reducing it to a piece where every observation is perceptive and the whole written as concisely [tightly] as possible.
Which bit is unnecessary? Is any bit a repetition of something already said?
Which bit is weaker than the rest? Where does it stumble when I read it out loud?
Where does it make me itch?
There are the making of a fine final piece in here, and the subject will automatically chime with most readers.
Start by reducing it. An example [and feel free to ignore it as you must make it your own]:

This has happened before -
Different last time, and
Different next time;
I know that now

is more concise and [hopefully] says the same thing.
"The sense that" is unnecessary as expressing the sense shows you have sensed it.
Hope some of this is of benefit to you.


itcametomeinadream at 10:59 on 05 September 2009  Report this post
Paul, i'm very grateful for the comment, which is very constructive. It's all too easy to write something and then abandon it, and you're right - avoiding that is the hard part.

Based on your comment, I can already see various lines that are superfluous, and I will have a stab this evening.

Thanks again,


itcametomeinadream at 21:42 on 05 September 2009  Report this post
I did my best to revise this piece. I should probably re-read Twain's brutal deconstruction of Fenimore Cooper ;

For me, there are three parallel themes here. The first is as Paul says - the universal ticking away of our days. The second is the use of time as a mechanism to dictate how it is spent, hence the hat tip to George Woodcock in the first verse. The third is my personal sense of dread at a forthcoming event that I am unable to escape. It's the latter that suffered most with my revision, as it seemed too personal to convey anything meaningfu, and was, in any case, poorly expressed.

V`yonne at 16:13 on 06 September 2009  Report this post
I liked this very much. I particularly like the ending - very strong and to the point and the the way the structure of the piece reflects that inevitability. I think a little tweak in places such as
The sundial that should mark days
lies shattered in the shade
of so much piss-stained Saturday-night glass

soon swept away

Just reconsider where words can be cut to tighten it or revise the choices.

Should the first line say clicks time?

itcametomeinadream at 20:13 on 06 September 2009  Report this post
>> Should the first line say clicks time?

It may need revision if you stumbled over the line, but it was intended to be a pseudo-rhyme of "tick tock". I put a hyphen between the words in what may be a vain attempt to avoid it seeming like a typo.

The sundial section may need to make the point differently. It is my yearning for the days when we used less precise measures of time, and a hint what I see as the results of clock-in clock-out by-the-second timekeeping.

In any case, many thanks for the comment


Added: I've now reread, and reworded; hopefully I'm getting a bit closer. I struggle sometimes with revising anything, so I very much appreciate the feedback and encouragement :)

leggestesa at 13:57 on 24 September 2009  Report this post
A thought provoking and chilling work. I would suggest joining stanzas 6 and 7 for reasons of fluency and meaning.

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