Thursday, 10 August 2017

the final vicissitude


often – as I draw far closer to the end of my life 
than the beginning – I am struck – by how much thriftier
I have been with my money, than with my ‘time’ … 
occasionally, squandering the finite minutes of a never-again
afternoon, like a payday drunk on a spree – so recklessly –
I find myself inquiring where the ‘time’ has gone: 
a discombobulated time-traveller beamed into the supper hour 
having just finished lunch, a daydream-or-two ago … it is not easy,
 and perhaps not even natural, to embrace each moment

and yet … I have known people who were told that they were dying:
the reckoning hour, of their life, I suspect … when, whatever 
notions or indifference, the concept of ‘time’ had, hitherto,
occupied in their thoughts … ceased … as they began 
to speak of ‘time’ with an inspirited cherished reverence … as 

suddenly, ’time’ becomes a priceless commodity … with enchantment found
in any day … in every hour – in each moment of the final vicissitude – there,
before wondering eyes:  the flutter of a leaf … the splendor of a sunrise … or 
the simple joy of a child’s laughter … as abundant as the waves upon a sea …
all the purity and goodness under heaven … the sweetness of life … as precious 
as the next breath … time …. valued … finally valued … as it ebbs away …


note:  vicissitude: a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance:  a fluctuation of state or condition (in nature or in human affairs) as in the vicissitudes of daily life [Merriam-Webster].

photo: Pacific Spirit Regional Park, which is part of the University Endowment just west of Vancouver – M.S. Bourke

© 2017 Wendy Bourke

30 comments:

  1. Time is indeed a precious commodity as we grow older ~ I wish I knew what I know now, and had been bolder and more adventurous with my life ~ But its not too late to find wonder in any hour and value every breath ~

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  2. Wonderful and powerful reflection on time. I too look upon the waves of the ocean which I will join. How beautiful they are.

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  3. Yes! I, too, have been thriftier w/my money than with my time.

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  4. Ah, sometimes it takes a long time to really learn to treasure time! I think that too often we let time pass without savoring it as we should or making it matter as much as we should. Unfortunately, I think you are right - sometime people only begin to appreciate the importance of time at the very end of their lives....'as it ebbs away.'

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  5. And yet I would not change that careless joy of childhood when time seemed to stretch forever. Those are golden memories.

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    1. Perhaps those childhood days are so golden because children do value time - completely entranced in each moment (in a way that adults seldom are or can be) - a childlike splendor in the hours, while blissfully unaware of the passing of time.

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  6. This is absolutely right on the money. The trick is to capture that wonder before the terminal diagnosis, lol. As I know you and I both do......I sure relate to suppertime coming around an eye-blink after lunch. I cant BELIEVE how fast the days go by, yet my pace is so slow. I, the tortoise, the day, the hare.

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    1. Oh, I love that tortoise quip. Laughed out loud and when Mike asked me what was so funny, I read it to him and he laughed out loud. LOL!!!

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  7. The poem gives me the image of a colossal wave becoming a mere bubble. We really have so little time left for appreciation of true life. & how I love Sherry's being the tortoise; the best way to live :)

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  8. You remind us that we sometimes need that nudge to remember the small and important things in life - beautifully written

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  9. a discombobulated time-traveller beamed into the supper hour
    having just finished lunch, a daydream-or-two ago … fantastic lines. So often the case.

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  10. This piece has certainly made me reflect on how time is taken for granted. A fine poem of which I enjoyed reading.

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  11. This is thought provoking! it's true that we're so careful with our money and thrifty with our time. Well written :)

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  12. This is wonderfully deep and meditative, Wendy!❤️

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  13. That is the problem when we realise there is still so much more to do and so little time, we are tired, hearing and sight are failing and we we still havent...

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  14. Wendy, this 'vicissitude' is very close to me. 'To cherish' now is my theme for the period of 'lions gates'. Love your style here, poetic prose, dialog with self, very reflecting nocturnal mood.

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  15. You capture a great irony here, Wendy...we are so careless with time when we seem to have so much of it ahead of us. Too late, we come to realize that it is a limited commodity. I think this hits a note with all of us.
    Steve K.

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  16. There is a powerful lesson in your words. "Time" is now, we must enjoy the precious moments and beauty of now.

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  17. I fear there is no way to truly save time, unless science conquers death or time travel. Bitter sweet words.

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  18. as they began to speak of ‘time’
    with an inspirited cherished reverence

    One comes to a point where there is less motivation for anything rigorous and outlandish!

    Hank
    s

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  19. A commodity we do not cherish many times until it is too late....I find myself trying to embrace the time I have left. I love the irony woven here in your words.

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  20. Yes sometimes we do not treasure the time we have on this earth. We fritter it away with trivialities. But the time spent watching a leaf fall or the trees sway in the wind or the baby in the lap of its father in the restaurant - these are all priceless. Excellent poem about the passing of time.

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  21. Time is precious and we do squander a lot of it. I always say...life is short we only have this moment.

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  22. Well penned. I think we're all guilty of squandering what could be our legacy if we used it wisely.

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  23. Somewhere, in one of my long ago poems, there's a line that says "What in youth we take for granted, in old age we have time to savor".

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  24. But it's never too late to start valuing life, is it?

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  25. Whew. You really hit the mark with this one. Your words do give me pause. Where, indeed, does the time go?

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  26. I think it is the gift of the artist--to squander time--how else can we write or dream?

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