Wednesday, 10 June 2015


“Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.” - Leonardo da Vinci

Poets United this week is looking at the topic of “Time” and Sumana is enjoining participants to think about time and its ambiguous nature. My ideas turned to language, words and grammar and how we perceive time’s vagaries grammatically. A rather academic viewpoint, but one that is required in order to express the subjective nature of time’s passage for even the most romantic and poetic amongst us. Here is my offering:

Grammar Lesson

Past, present, future:
Tense is the sea of time,
That little boat is me.
Past continuous, present perfect,
A storm brewing,
The boat is struggling.
Future and aorist, present continuous,
The battle unequal,
The boat sinks and the waters are calmed.

My world is lost,
Your world is changed,
My boat sunken,
Will never float again.
Past continuous, past perfect,
The wind abates,
The still waters rot.

And yet, if one parts
The glassy surface of the indicative,
If the imperative is to dive
Deep into the sandy bottom
Of subjunctive and conditional,
The boat is there and passively awaits
For one active voice that will command
And raise it from the depths…


  1. Such an intriguing piece.. loved your take on this prompt :)

  2. Ha ha, yes it's tricky to navigate all right!

  3. sea of time .............really nice one...............the waves toss us up and down

  4. WONDERFUL! Yes, I am an ex-English teacher, but more, more, Language is magic in action, and changing passive and past into active and future has a remarkable enabling quality. I think that comes through here despite the "academic terms'!

  5. this is a brilliant and unique way to look at time in grammatical terms..the rise is possible only when the voice is great message :) also love the sea image...

  6. What an intriguing look at time. I really enjoyed your look at time, especially all of the grammatical terms, wordsmiths that we are. Very well done.

  7. This plays time with life with words and really captures the infinite.

  8. A fun way to explore how we express time and how this expression might constrain our understanding :)

  9. How wonderfully you depict time through language. My favorite is the present perfect.
    I enjoyed this so much, it's so smart.

  10. Ha, the past, present, and future of grammar is difficult to navigate! I don't think I really learned English grammar until I learned Latin. The subjunctive and the conditional confuse me still!

  11. Nicholas,

    A fine example of the motions and the passage of time, in a linguistic mode of explanation. So important, especially if accuracy is to be imposed upon timely frames of thought. Time shifts so much, not only our placement, living and concepts..

  12. Ha....I loved this...very clever. I like your little boat.

    deep into the sandy bottom
    of subjunctive and conditional
    the boat is there and passively waits
    for one active voice
    c'est moi
    the gerund:)

  13. What a clever piece...i could never get the hang of sailed this home beautifully..

  14. I like the grammar lesson wrapped in time and the boat is classic.

  15. Interesting idea carried thorugh very well.