THE SHELF CLOCK AUTOMATON

a poem by Jonathan Bellmann, USA

The price was worth it, so it seemed;
It was right and not a penny more.
Here the clock will sit, here it will count
Its days-round and round its hands
Will spin-metered by a spirit within.
Embedded in its mahogany tomb
And gilded by an exacting eye
Only seldom will you hear it cry
With the hours that amble by.
Atop the clock's mantle green
Within a parapet of stone
There you'll see a sailing ship
With wooden masts and ivory sails
Pitching to and fro against an angry sea
Heralding the arrival of each anticipated eve.
Standing on the shoreline resolute and sworn,
A gilded sailor wields a rope
To lasso those who mourn;
He offers to them the strand of hope.
A stone wall crumbles across the sea,
A fortuitous port of call reveals
How brief life's glory can be
As it makes its unwary fall.
The golden wreath of life eternal
Surrounds the clock's face
To show assuredly our victory
Over death's dark embrace.
Descending sea serpents sinuously wind
Beside the timeless garland shrine
To gather at a feast of shells
Mingled with some flailing scales;
Even in the depths of shadows,
This mahogany tomb yields its enslaved
To the resurrection of the saved.
Gilded tulips etched in a circle
Atop the clock's opulent base
Testifies to the supernal foundation
Of Christ's unchanging grace.
Though just a clock, it's slightly more
As you gaze deeper into its obvious lure;
Where some things are as they seem,
Others may hold to a different scheme.

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