Sunday Poem

You Know it Now

Clocks, it fears them.
Dials, hands,
It cannot face them.

The sound of ticking
Drives it mad.
Nightmare and daymare.

Seconds and hours,
It cannot stand them.
People who say

Please can you tell me the—
It runs out of sight,
It can’t abide them.

You know it now; and how
The answer isn’t time.


Like a blur of rain on the real world.
And no one denies the great utility
For comptrollers of imperial households,
For quartermaster-sergeants,
For grocer’s assistants,
For museum curators,
For taxonomists and schoolboys,
Pundits and critics.

And if the name becomes the thing,
The rain it raineth every day
And anyhow: could we bear it?
Could we bear the light of the world
Of things without names?

by John Fowles
from Poems, John Fowles
The Ecco Press, 1973