Suppose your life a folded telescope
Durationless, collapsed in just a flash
As from your mother’s womb you, bawling, drop
Into a nursing home. Suppose you crash
Your car, your marriage — toddler laying waste
A field of daisies, schoolkid, zit-faced teen
With lover zipping up your pants in haste
Hearing your parents’ tread downstairs — all one.
Einstein was right. That would be too intense.
You need a chance to preen, to give a dull
Recital before an indifferent audience
Equally slow in jeering you and clapping.
Time takes its time unraveling. But, still,
You’ll wonder when your life ends: Huh? What happened?
“The Purpose of Time is to Prevent Everything from Happening at Once,” by X.J. Kennedy from The Lords of Misrule: Poems, 1992-2001, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2002.
2 thoughts on ““The Purpose of Time is to Prevent Everything from Happening at Once” by X.J. Kennedy”
Interesting. Love you!
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I love this poem! And I’d never read it before. Thank you so much for sharing it, Christy! And thank you so much for sharing a poem every day! Now, more than ever, we need poetry. This poem reminds me of Alan Lightman’s book Einstein’s Dreams. It’s a series of meditations on time that are so beautiful. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it. 🙂
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