Last Sunday was Christ the King Sunday.  We sang one of my favorite hymns (I admit, I have many) “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” The last verse begins, “Crown him the lord of years, the potentate of time.”

That phrase, “the potentate of time” is marvelous in sound, with its string of “t”s, its long vowels. its strong iambic rhythm.  But what is a potentate of time?  After it stuck with me awhile, I decided to explore the idea in a poem:

The Potentate of Time

As CEO, I cannot allow loss
of minutes dropped by badly
calibrated clocks, seconds

split by timers racing after
ever faster miles, or precious
nanoseconds sliced, spit out

by precision machines: all
the clumsy human attempts
to alter time.

I dispatch work crews to
sweep corners and gutters, sift
bits from curbs and drains,

bring their gathered goods into
my laboratory where skilled
artisans sort, stitch, splice.  My

expanding universe requires
recovery, repair, reuse
of every particle.

I chose to put this poem in first person in order to leave it to the reader to decide for her- or himself whether the potentate is male, female or beyond gender.

Paley front coverThis poem is included in my book, Made and Remade, which has a whole section on the theme of time, as is fitting for a collection that starts with a text 200 years old.  (More info on the Books page.)

 

Now the cycle of church seasons moves on to Advent, another year begins, and Sunday by Sunday the Christian story is told all over again.