THE HOURGLASS // Eleanor Griplas
Sitting on the beach, thinking of the now and the “to be”
Plunging my hands into the sand
I cup them and dig spade like into the warmth
My fists become crude vessels clutching an uncontainable cargo
Millions of grains of soft sand are held for an instant
Before they start to cascade, spill out
Slip through and over my fingers,
And If I was to scoop again I couldn’t be sure
to pick up exactly the very same grains that I held before
most of them would be gone, scattered in a sea of lost identity
I try to slow down the torrent, squeezing my fingers tight
But still a steady stream escapes and cannot be stemmed
Of course I am not the first to observe the symbolism
Between the grains in my hands… and the passage of time.
Who coined the phrase -Time is slipping through my fingers ?
An image in my head. The identical inverted bulbs of an hour glass
measuring distance and speed of a ship, the passage of hours
the boiling of an egg, the regulated trickle of sand
as a dependable and hypnotic measurement of time
As the grains fall, another year is clocked and another passes
Sand gives me a tangible connection with the long gone past
My sand carpet used to be a solid, a rock, a whole
Now the rock has become a blanket of tiny specks, minute particles
Fashioned over time from constant contact between two surfaces
The powder like grains can be felt in every crevice of my fingers
My knuckles, palms, nails, sticking to my skin
It seems like the grains consume me, won’t let go of me
I can’t brush them off completely. I don’t want to
Yet nor can I embrace the sand in my arms and cherish it…
This reminds me a little of you and me and the “can’t do’s”
A thought then occurs, we have our own secret hour glass
The grains in which are seeping, but not quite fast enough.
When the top of the hourglass is empty, you promise me
We will be able to grasp it as one and turn it around together
But for now we stand apart and just watch the sand falling.
We don’t know how long it will take for the top glass to be void.
I am asked for patience, to give gravity more time.
You say, it will be just another year or a few and that
the hourglass must empty, as Newton discovered and then
yes then, it will be our time but not now… another year