At the Speed of Light

Photo by Luis Dalvan from Pexels

It’s true – nothing travels faster than light.
The joke – that darkness is equally fast –
is also true thinking about a life –
slowly unfolding day-to-day, sometimes dragging, and that 
light, gone, at speed we can’t comprehend.


Deep Time

Photo by Sami Anas on

The chronology of Earth’s history: not present,
opening into past and future, not measured
in hours, years, but epochs and aeons,
recorded in stone, stalactites, seabed sediments,
drifting tectonic plates, and stopped only by
our fallen Sun in five billion years.

Photo by Lorenzo Castellino on

Aion (e-on Greek: Αἰών) is a Hellenistic deity associated with time, the orb or circle encompassing the universe, and the zodiac.

The “time” that Aion represents is perpetual, unbounded, ritual, and cyclic. It is a future that is a returning version of the past. This kind of time contrasts with the empirical, linear, progressive, and historical time that we know and that was represented by Chronos. That sense of time divides into past, present, and future.

In the latter part of the Classical era, Aion became associated with mystery religions which were secret cults of the Greco-Roman world that offered individuals religious experiences not provided by the official public religions and were very concerned with the afterlife.

Afternoon In A Minor Key

Photo: Brent Keane

Afternoon of moments in a minor key.
Songs I would have sung with guitar
on a day like this while you
sat in bed, the covers pulled up,
bare shoulders, tea steaming in your hand,

jasmine air, the hours have a different
sound, emotional feel, and time passes harmonically.
This chord is solemn, sad, maybe mysterious,
ominous if we let our light fade.
Each minor key shares a key signature

with a major key and I need
to find that again while you move
to piano to play that D minor.
So melancholy, a lamentation, dirge or requiem.

Photo: Marcela Alessandra

Time and the River

flow on, though only the river turns,
slows, straightens, becomes rapid, has a source,
and joins something larger, not really ending,
transformed, a new identity but something lost –
this poem, read, joins billions of words.

Other than the title, you might not sense that this small poem was inspired by Thomas Wolfe’s Of Time and the River: A Legend of Man’s Hunger in His Youth. It is a gigantic novel – 912 pages – that I still have never finished, though I started reading it almost 50 years ago as a student.

I had bought a used hardcover version of it at my favorite little used bookstore just off the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I was looking for Thomas Wolfe‘s first novel, Look Homeward, Angel or his final one, You Can’t Go Home Again. A professor had talked about Wolfe in class though we weren’t required to read him for that course. He said that he knew none of us would actually finish any of Wolfe’s books if he assigned them, but that we should read him at some point in our lives.

Wolfe had an off-and-on relationship with his editor Maxwell Perkins, who also edited Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. When Wolfe brought Perkins a draft of Of Time and the River, it was more than a million words long and Wolfe was still working on it. Perkins made many cuts to the manuscript which Wolfe did not like. Most writers don’t like being edited, especially when it means eliminating words. But a good editor can also help shape a manuscript into something more organized and marketable.

Even at 912 pages, the book was surprisingly a commercial success with mostly positive reviews. Still, Wolfe thought Perkins had ruined the book and he found a new editor. Wolfe died three years later of tuberculosis at the age of 37.

The thought of these vast stacks of books would drive him mad: the more he read, the less he seemed to know — the greater the number of the books he read, the greater the immense uncountable number of those which he could never read would seem to be…. The thought that other books were waiting for him tore at his heart forever.” — Thomas Wolfe (Of Time and the River)

Another Time

“From where we stand the rain seems random.
If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it.”
Tony Hillerman, Coyote Waits

The rain drips off the roof edge
ticking off steady clocklike metallic drops – seconds –
not 60 by 60 by 24
that runs our engines, but some other
Time I have yet to fully understand.

Photo by Sourav Mishra on