A grandfather clock in a white tile hallway.
It stood in the vast front hall
Hot Texas sun bleaching its wood.
A brassy moon face peering out from
Behind the glass.
Even on six-year-old tip toes
I couldn’t quite see the words
And the numbers.
It had been the pride
Of the white pillared mansion.
Already a hundred years old
When it was purchased in London.
A honeymoon gift of love
Traveling by ship to a
New country in a new century.
Why doesn’t it run?
I asked.
My white-haired aunt
With tiny wire glasses
And flower print dress
Would just shake her head.
Ticking her life away
She said.
Time moved it to Grandma’s house.
To the grand room with the red velvet bench
And the horsehair couch.
Every summer it gazed at me
As I watched cartoons
And ate oatmeal cookies.
Mama’s little house was next.
Weathered and beaten it stood
Just inside the screen door.
Still silent.
Growing older still.
Another move to Arizona
Before Mama died.
One of its legs now broken,
The pendulum long missing.
Propped up on bricks.
The estate lady called it
But my six-year-old heart
Loved it.
Like she loved the white haired
And the beautiful grandma
And the beloved mama.
Never could it be firewood.
So sixty years after standing on tiptoes
And peering at the brassy moon face
I brought it to my home.
To my modern white tiled front hall
To bask in balmy California light.
Only this time to live again.
Even though it hadn’t made a sound in more
Than a hundred years,
I found a man to save it.
Who saw its tattered beauty.
Its works still intact.
And soon, with a little love
And faith
It chimed!
Not a deep Big Ben sound
But a bright, light ting
Of a ship’s bell
From 200 years past.
A new pendulum counting the seconds.
The brassy moon face moving with
Each day and each week
Revealing children running
And playing among flowers.
The wood gently polished
The leg carefully repaired.
No longer was it ticking a life away.
No longer a forgotten memory.
It now became the heartbeat
Of my home.