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Tasting Time

Updated: Jun 30, 2023


Great grandpa’s clock has ceased to tock,

that mantel piece of crude cut wood,

a case too large for inner works

where even dust just lost its way.

That alloy block on ramrod stick

founds its weight too much to sway.


Great grandad sat there by the peat,

sipped Bushmills from up the way,

admired his cutting from the moss.

She would have him up the stairs

but once the whisky had its way,

along with glowing from the grate

he was balanced on his seat,

content, the ticking of her talk

wafting, smoky, up the stack;

no matter words, straitjacket, Mum,

admonition of her tongue.

He piled bog slack from crumpled pail,

settled back, ignored the pain,

tasting time, port barrel stock.


Next morning shock,

his clock had stopped.

For wont of cleaning clogged up spring

the fossil smoke spread from the peat;

tar coating him from briar shag

as he had dreamt of springy turf,

the blades that tickled toddler toes -

adventures as that timepiece berthed -

and he had run down to the stream

before his call to linen mill,

clog roughshod feet, reluctant trudge.

But now all settled, slow to stop.


First published by The Whisky Blot

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3 Comments


Alison Blevins
Alison Blevins
Jul 02, 2023

My dad always wanted a Grandfather clock but my mum point blank refused, I never knew why. Lovely poem.

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Darrell Troon
Darrell Troon
Jun 26, 2023

I have a mantle clock it was my grandfather’s, I used to love listening to its Tic Toc and quarterly chimes. But now it’s silent in my loft. Thank you for a great poem

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John Dallison
John Dallison
Jun 19, 2023

😊 A fine poem, like mulled wine, warming and memorable!

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