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The Time-Keeper


About the Time-Keeper

We all keep up with Time, rather forced to, without being aware what it really is. It was just the other night that the Timekeeper - the one who oversees Time's regulatory dominance upon existence, appeared in my dream and narrated his woes. The Verse-a-tale that follows is an account of what he said. The accompanying pictures are impressions that he deigned to grant, while describing each facet of his long story.

A special thanks to Hubber "Theraggededge", whose page on Zen-tangles, inspired me to attempt drawing the pictures in this Hub.

However, unlike the hand-drawn procedure that she has described, I have used the mouse, mouse-clicks, and the computer monitor to create the drawings.

The Time-Keeper


Time has forever been an enigma;

Continue to be so, it always will.

Yet we all live and perish in Time;

Me too, despite my unique skill.


I’ve been expressly charged to keep time;

Knowing not how and where to begin and why.

Have been at the job, since know not when;

Seeing neither an accolade, nor a decry.


This state of affairs should either mean that

The work is lowly or my ability just pass;

Or there is none else to take up this drudgery,

Which I think is the real reason, alas.


That all follow my diktat is hardly a solace;

It is second nature for life to go through its pace.

There is recognition, if not in all, then in most,

That Time is the true master, I am at best a ghost.


I segment time in an assortment of sizes;

Some with precise and uniform slices;

Others apparently so, but with uneven splices;

Or functional ones marking calm and crises.


The boundless universe has its own time scale;

In contrast to its monstrosity, all else pale.

With reference to the big bang, it is reckoned;

What was time before that is a question best spurned.


Stars of different genre, pulsars and quasars,

Have their own respective peculiar time measures.

What constitues a ‘day’ or an ‘hour’ for one,

May be a ‘month’ or an ‘year’ for many others.


On earth I co-ordinate time at two levels;

Each into the other, they harmoniously bevel.

Circadian rhythm it is at the mundane plane,

And seasonal variations on the stage arcane.


The level of delineation is however only a convenience;

Both proceed from the same origin and hence,

It is a complex system, with intrigues, rife;

Which controls and regulates earthly life.


Managers of Circadian rhythms are body chemicals

In all life forms, whether plants, insects or animals.

Begun by early bacteria, to replicate DNA at night

That was hampered by ultraviolet rays in sun-light.


Most such cyclic patterns can be traced

To cues induced by the Moon or the Sun.

Akin to the celestial beat, they too are spaced;

When displaced, the re-adjustment is soon done.


The interactions between different life forms

Is influenced by the luminaries and their orbital norms

That give effect to the varied and extreme seasons.

All earthly exchanges are attributable to these reasons.


When Man began to complicate his life manifold,

Increasing wants, of his mind, began to take hold.

The need to keep accurate time was keenly felt;

Ways to do so, to him, I discreetly spelt.


The first outcome of the lesson so imparted,

Were the various calendrical systems that got started

Taking the Sun, the Moon, or both as reference,

Depending upon a particular community's preference.


The exercise was not without its controversies;

Amidst terrible ego clashes, a few sensible mercies.

Kings vied to have months or eras named after them;

It took a while for sanity to prevail, the rot, to stem.


This arrangement, man’s requirements soon outgrew;

And the clock was born, from the suggestions I strew.

Winds of change began to point to impending trends,

Where actions could be measured in as little as seconds.


To advance, the grandfather clock was a great prop,

But the grandson wanted to keep time on the hop.

So pocket and wrist watches came to be;

Propelling man into an innovation spree.


Once, Time was aplenty and generously doled;

Now it is worth its weight in gold.

Rare it is to see a couple kiss and say ‘Hi Honey!”;

Worthless whims these, for time is the same as money.


Computers brought timekeeping to the "micro" stage;

Very soon, Man would step into the "nano" age .

Seen all this for eons I have, my hairs have grayed;

Though all exciting to Man, to me it is quite staid.


Delay is anathema today and everything has to be pronto;

Time division has nosedived from pico to atto to femto.

If you thought that a nanosecond was too weeny a bit;

A femtosecond - hold your breath - is one millionth of it.


There is one topic on which I am completely stumped,

And find myself, with Man, ever so degradingly lumped.

Why is it that Time seems to go only in one direction?

Light-years of pondering have resulted only in dejection.


One question leads to many and many lead to a zillion;

Uncertainties follow in their wake or come riding pillion.

If Time was indeed reversible then why could it possibly not

Go in any direction or for a while be rooted to a spot?


Magnanimously I grant it to Man or am I being prudent

When I say he has brains? (after all he has been my student).

Speculatively he has devised many time travel procedures;

Based on ideas already riddled with tentative conjectures.


One goes by the fancy name - relativity of simultaneity;

"Gödel metric" is another theory that would shame complexity.

Yet another is the currently imaginary traversable wormhole;

To establish a tunnel between unlike universes is its goal.


Even if it were possible to ultimately master time-travel,

The mysteriousness of Time, none would perhaps unravel.

It will never bare itself even to the most sophisticated prod;

Time, then should be the ultimate, the ever anonymous God.

© 2017 Ram Ramakrishnan

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