Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Nun Clock

In the abbey,
over the arch
with the hooded fleur-de-lis at its apex,
is the Nun Clock.

The black arms,
the white tips which circle the numbers,
turn time French,
and the cat--whose favorite is quatre,
speaks the mother tongue both rough and sweet.

La chatte is at the heart of everything I care about,
and she is the darling of the abbey,
unconcerned and calm
as the Nun Clock chimes these poems--
Ma soeur, je t'aime, je t'aime toujours...
________

For Mama Zen. Words Count. 80 words on the button.

 

22 comments:

hedgewitch said...

"The black arms,/the white tips which circle the numbers,/turn time French,/and the cat--whose favorite is quatre,/speaks the mother tongue both rough and sweet..." Pure(or perhaps more accurately,gorgeously impure) music--chiming the vespers of the heart, and not without the requisite surreal touch. I love the first and last stanzas too but am refraining from tediously reproducing (and losing) their magic here--this is tres formidable.

. said...

This is crazy good. Especially the French phrases and these:
"the white tips ... turn time French"
"speaks the mother tongue both rough and sweet"
"she is the darling of the abbey,
unconcerned and calm"

That's one sexy cat. I like that her French "name" is pretty much "la chatty." If you speak French, you should certainly wiggle your tongue at every opportunity.

Also, your title might embed "the noon clock" and "the none clock."

How interesting that 4:00 is the cat's favorite time. I'm picturing her standing with one arm straight up and one stretched out low and the the side, kind of Vanna White style. Look at this. Look at me. Look at my smile.

The part about the clock's white hands/fingernails circling numbers makes me think she's really a teacher at the abbey (which may be a metaphor for another place).

What would make her arms black? Working hard and getting dirty, I think. Cinderella style. Because of the "mother tongue" phrasing, I think the abbey is her home, and she is a Christian mother. She's mostly black at this point though, with just the tips being white. The extremities. The tiniest of top layers. This girl has lost her shit and is pretty fed up ... thus the rough talk. But she can still pull it together part of the time for the sweet.

I like that "my sister" looks like "my sour" in French. Or maybe "my sower."

What if the "nun" is a woman/mother who has the spirit of a cat inside her?

I like what you did with "arch," touching on the arch of a cat's back. Or a woman's. I also think "hooded" suggests that she's hiding behind symbols and flowers, and maybe "pecks." She's probably even prone to wearing hoodies. And every day she wakes up to another Groundhog's Day (I assume you know that movie), she feels like she's been "clocked" in the "face" with a "none" punch again.

I love that clock's hands at least have a pretty French manicure. They look good on the outside, I presume.

There's something extra in "chimes" too. It's predictable, required, preset. She's saying "I'll love you forever" (I like the reference to that book, by the way), but she's doing it because it's part of her schedule.

I wonder if the cat inside helps keep the clock plugging along, doing her job. Without the cat, what would she do?

Thank God for armor.

Glenn Buttkus said...

A chick in armor always fascinates me. This amazing, layered piece is stunning, conjuring so many dark images, For some reason when I envisioned the Nun Clock, I saw Jesus on his cross, and the crucifix whirled clockwise, with the holy halo encircling the hour, blessing the time.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Love the Nun Clock, and the French phrases. Very cool write.

Blogoratti said...

A really tender piece, and I find it a delight to read indeed. Greetings to you!

brudberg said...

I simply love the mixing of languages.. and this piece with it's hinted references to the legends is just perfect.

Shadow said...

You are bewitching with your declaration....

Lolamouse said...

Why does everything sound so much more sexy in French?

K9friend said...

There are so many things I enjoyed about this poem, especially the sprinkling of French phrases.

Pat
Critter Alley

Mama Zen said...

I'm enthralled with the entire concept of turning time French and chiming poems. Wow, Shay.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is very cool, Shay. I especially love the two lines about the cat who... speaks the mother tongue both rough and sweet!

Jim said...

I love your French 'Nun Clocks', Shay. Two memories, a French girl I dated for over a year had one at the dorm to tell the curfew time, after eleven meant she was out till morning as "punishment". Meaning we slept in my car.
And Mrs. Jim has several antique French clocks. Both my wives French too, and a French cat named Minew.
The Blood of a Poet film was delayed almost a year because of protests by the French religious community over the suicide showing during the card game scene.
..

Outlawyer said...

Wonderfully clever and sweet too. And saucy, and not catty exactly--just a lot of fun. k.

Lynn said...

Amazing how you can do exactly 80 words like that. A great ones, too.

Countdown to Emmylou!

Susie Clevenger said...

Love the title! "The black arms, the white tips which circle the numbers, turn time French" It's amazing how your lines can transport me into a language I don't even speak. I can even hear a woman singing oddly enough. You are an expert with mood.

Gillena Cox said...

very clever, well crafted


much love...

Susan said...

Oh my sister, my sister, I still love, you, the cat, the clock the ticking of this poem in two languages, its flow and its never ending ...

Sioux said...

Shay--You're right. Everything DOES sound better in French...

Hannah said...

"Unconcerned and clam," is a great description of cat. Nice, Shay. :)

banana rama said...

I love your new background.

Ileana said...

Everyone loves a gato that can speak French.

grapeling said...

whew. quite the metaphor in that first verse... tous les choses sont HOT. ~