For those who don’t know, Escapril is the brainchild of poet and novelist Savannah Brown, who challenges the poets of Instagram to write and post a poem every day of National Poetry Month. Whilst Brown wouldn’t call herself a leader of the challenge, she is the “managerial ghost” of the @letsescapril Instagram account.
Today’s prompt is “clock.”
Time has always been a problem for me. There have never been enough hours in the day. I rediscovered a barely used journal from 2012, and across several pages I’m lamenting my struggle with taming time. Little did 15-year-old me realise time would only become even more elusive without deadlines and structure.
But I didn’t want to write a poem about “wasted” hours. For starters, you waste more hours by lamenting lost time, so it’s counter-productive. That’s what I try and remind myself when those guilty feelings about unproductivity try to bring me down.
What I’ve come to resent, and what you probably loathe too, are the hours stolen from us. Time is freedom. Time is finite. Time is something we can never get back. And yet we own very little of it.
Quite often we feel guilty for the time put into leisure activities because we’ve had unhealthy ideas of productivity drilled into us. Or we’ve been “productive” but the work doesn’t fulfil us – or worse, conflicts with our personal values.
My poem is about those frustrations, but it’s also about how I’d spend eternity if I was granted that infinite time.
As always, here is the poem without the visuals:
I love to set myself silly little tasks
like doing laundry or planning my future.
The clock goes tick, tick, tick, but my
to-do list never gets a tick of its own.
I could buy a thousand clocks and still
I wouldn’t know how to spend my time.
Happy hour lasts only minutes and
a single email steals my afternoon.
Always too early or too late, never on time.
Numb to the now, fearing for the future,
paralysed by the past. Surviving, not thriving.
Life is just full of pressing snooze buttons.
But I don’t really mourn for lost time.
It’s the minutes stolen from us I resent.
If we had eternity, I’d give every second
to be with the people I love. Like you.