If there is any concept in life that I just cannot get my head around, the concept of time baffles me day after day. How is it that 60 minutes chatting to a friend seems to last no longer than 10 minutes and a journey to Waterford city, which is equally 60 minutes drags on for what seems like 4 hours? The mind boggles.
This week in my Renaissance literature module we are looking at Shakespeare’s sonnets. I studied a selection of the sonnets for my Leaving Cert and without a doubt; my favourite sonnet from that selection is Sonnet 60.
Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,
Crooked eclipses ‘gainst his glory fight,
And Time, that gave, doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
Salvador Dalí. (Spanish, 1904-1989). The Persistence of Memory.
This poem makes the point that time just keeps on rolling regardless of our personal situations. We have absolutely no control over time and we never will despite all our futile efforts. It is interesting to look at how we use the word time in language. We try to make time a tactile thing, something we can possess, gain and lose. Clearly, the lack of power over time does not sit well with us as a species. “I should get it sorted tonight if I find the time”, “I got there ahead of time”, “Don’t be wasting time”.
Time is a precious thing, we are always grasping for a few spare seconds and we know that ultimately when we approach the finish line of life we could regret that we did not use time wisely throughout our lives. It’s a tricky business for certain sure. They say we should live in the here and now, yet without a plan our lives would be a mess. There is a time and a place for everything in our lives and we need to respect that. Rush when necessary but don’t get caught up in the rush. Spend time with family and friends but don’t put your life on hold for others. Don’t sit around and wait for your life to just fall into place with no effort on your part. Be productive with your time, learn to balance leisure and work.
As the poem says, nothing lasts for ever. Enjoy every moment for what it is and make your mark on the world. leave something that people can remember you by. Looking at the final lines of the poem I hope that my own writing will live on after I have left this world. Who knows what will happen.
Only Time Will Tell.