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Time Will Tell: A Poem and an Essay

Chris has written poetry for 28 years though he focuses on short fiction. But watch out for the occasional twisted nursery rhyme.


Time Will Tell

The circle of Time,

The circle of Space,

Twins in a constant, forever embrace,

Fill the void

Where constellations dwell,

Riders on a cosmic carousel—

Proclaiming the seasons,

A ship’s position,

Led magi to the babe’s location.

The firmament,

The teller of time,

As trusty as a clockwork chime.

A Paradox,

This Circ of space,

Constantly moving, remains in place

While it speeds around

The pathway eternal,

Shouting the past, whispering the supernal.

Wandering circle

Of time and space,

The eternal constant with an ever-changing face.

Harry Chapin, All My Life's a Circle



It seems to me time travels in a circle. This year, and next, and for years after, the same stars and constellations gather round our individual days of birth to celebrate. Solstices and equinoxes occur like clockwork and have been tracked for millennia by man. As the seasons come and go, the constellations travel familiar paths. A few dip below the horizon for a season, but we know when and where to watch for their return. This is the circle of time.

Space also follows the circular form. If I leave my home and travel for about 25,000 miles or 12,700 kilometers, and if I don’t stray to the right or left, I will end up back at my own doorstep. But that is easy to see; the Earth is round. Is the universe also circular?


The theme of circles seems well represented in the movements of celestial bodies, solar systems, and galaxies. Is the universe a multidimensional circle, or rather, a sphere? Might we leave our home planet and travel a straight line until generations later, our descendants arrive back at Earth?

The circle is the visual representation of forever when we are shopping for wedding rings. The infinity sign is really a folded circle. Does all of nature move in such a fashion? Does the lifeforce of man travel in such a way through time?

There is a saying that states, “Time will tell.” Time will tell what has been told for ages past and will continue telling it into the distant future. Planets, suns, and galaxies are born, live and die, but that circle is repeated over and over again using the remnants of the old.

Does the lifeforce of a man follow the same circular pattern? Or are we somehow different from the rest of the natural order? Is it a linear path we follow from birth, through life, and into the hereafter? Do we follow from a point of nonexistence to a static place where we spend eternity? If so, it violates all we observe in the realm of nature.

Time will tell.

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