Thursday, February 26, 2015


Navajo Girl, 1941.  Courtesy of Yahoo.

Time's measured on a thin line on a cat's back.
Might as well be
since all the clock does is tick 
over and over, evenly, impartially.
Its stoic face simply stares, 
complacent to count no numbers beyond twelve, 
knowing it's the sun announces the day,
the night that makes it go away.

"Aaaaahhhh. I'm going to be very delayed!"
"That's okay," she says.
I can hear my heart, a crescendo of rapid thumps
exploding.  I arrive an hour late.
"I'm so, so sorry," I repeat, 
repeat like the ticking of a clock.

These Navajo women had  no interest in apologies.
All that mattered: I was there. 
The meeting began when it began.

I thought about the clock.
How it ticks so fast sometimes
I can't catch up.
Yet, I recognize
its innocence, its impeccable pace,
the fact that I'm the one who judges its face,
filling its round space with perceptions
not synchronized with my heart.
I've begun to think that time,
like beauty is in the eye...

(In another lifetime, when I worked, I scheduled a meeting with a Navajo group of women near Gallup, New Mexico.  I got lost getting there.  When I arrived, (actually 2 hours late!) they greeted
me in a friendly and welcoming manner.  They joked about my "Indian Time".   There's some truth to the stereotype that Native Americans are never on time because they don't see it the way much of the world does.  They are not governed by it.  I was impressed that they were not exactly waiting for me, rather they filled their time with conversation and activities and were simply happy to see me when they did.  No excuses necessary)

For Dverse Poets.  We were asked to select a line from one of Brian's or Claudia's poems to write one of our own.  I am Claudia's team.  The first italicised  line is hers.


  1. For a moment I thought a woman was giving birth....time of no real importance except that a baby live. But you instead made your arrival to town into a lovely story, a small but potentially pivotal event most likely in someone's life in the town... had to be synchronized with the heart.

  2. I do like the idea that time, like beauty, is in the eye..... When time seems to move fast or seems to move slow, I guess it is we who make it that way...thought-provoking, Myrna.

  3. The notion of ticking clock and marking time is just us, in the city ~ In the far off places, time is slow and slower ~ I find it delightful not to feel rush actually ~ Good that those women know how to savor and fill their time ~ Thanks for the personal share ~

  4. it would be very cool not to feel governed by time...maybe that is why we look forward to retirement..ha..or maybe i need to be an indian...time governs us all in some way...and we will never get back what we spend...

  5. I like the sense of time, or rather of different time, that you conveyed in your poem, Myrna. However this is very alien from how I feel. I do not like tardiness and the prospect of being late makes me nervous. I wish I could be more relaxed about it.

  6. Yes, exactly........they enjoyed the extra time to chat......and were just happy to see you. I love that! We talk about Tofino time in Tofino, one wears watches, days are governed, in large part, by the surf, at least among the young.

  7. great thought... I think it is; we put so much on time. but if we didn't, would people work as hard if there's no time schedule? if we didn't put that pressure on ourselves?

  8. I think it's wise that you always have a way to make the time be filled so waiting becomes something nice.. Quite natural really... Why waste your time waiting?

  9. I could write whole treatises about the different perceptions of time across cultures. With technology, however, we are all getting a bit more similar - impatient, instant gratification expected, unable to let ourselves be bored for a minute, overwhelmed...
    A great reminder that there are alternatives - and a wonderful anecdote.

  10. It seems many of us are reflecting on time, thanks to Brian and Claudia. :) I like your reflections, and also your stories.

  11. i wish for that indian time sometimes - way too often my time is measured the swiss way... precise and fastly ticking away and i trying to catch up... how relaxed the world would be without those clocks...

  12. This is wonderful... I hate being late and I dislike people being late to dinner... I like the thought of time being measured on a thin line of a cat's back because it make me think of how cats always stretch. I wouldn't mind time stretching out a little as I get older instead of seeming to go in leaps and bounds.

  13. Thanks, that was a beautiful piece and very thoughtful as well.

    Greetings from London.

  14. Beautifully done :) I spent my early childhood years in Gallup, NM so "Indian time" was (and still is!) quite natural for me.

  15. Being punctual is only relevant if caught in the rat race. Otherwise most societies are not really keen in keeping time.


  16. reminds me of a quote, "Americans have the watches, Africans have the time". I know, a different culture that you were referring to, but I think it might fit here...

  17. Time is in the eye ... I like that concept ... very well written :-)

  18. Ha I had to smile. When I was in Ireland, it was the same - "sure your on Irish time" - and then I got a beach house - there were tee shirts with clock and no hands with "livin' on island time" printed on the bottom. There are apparently a lot of places on earth where man refuses to be regulated by clocks - yet the sun and moon are implacable and your poem makes perfect sense -- beautifully!

  19. Thanks for this beautiful poem. So good to be here again.

  20. Irrelevance of time, if only we could accept it. Nicely done, I really enjoyed it.

  21. If only we could recognize a true value of time. Nicely done.