Tuesday 26 October 2021

John Irons: 'Time for Music' (poem from the PA cycle)




‘something to show you’ said pa

opening a flattish cardboard box

extracting a silver letter m

with curved feet roughly five by two


pulling the right leg forward

he formed a tripod

the third leg topped by

a scooped ellipse


‘ah’ said pa

lifting a long letter l from the box

with a c underneath

a c with a howler monkey’s tail

an l with gradations

and tapering weight

with two metal pins

like fangs

sticking out from its base


‘from beethoven’s time –

beauty, isn’t she?’


she was, pa, she was –

a silent metronome! –

and perfect for you

pa the cautious

who’d ticktock his notes

looking for music held within them

instead of between them,

for time’s displacement

its dislocation

where laws can be broken

and freedom gained


pa kept his beauty highly polished

the gentle sway of the monkey’s tail

left in its wake a trail of star-dust


pa played out of time

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