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Personifications of Time by Derek Sellen

Arts Richmond

Online - 02 October 2020

Personifications of Time by Derek Sellen


corseted in quartz and diamond,

you are ready with the whip,

scarring, soothing, and scarring again.

When I try for freedom,

I am fetched on a shortening leash

with each tick or beep or chime.



you have a taste for cataclysm,

for sudden destructions:

a pyroclastic gush of heat

incinerating the moments. Ash

clings to the skin after you have passed;

you melt the dial on Dalí’s clock.



I inhale soporific odours

with which you douse me,

the invitation to sleep out the calendar

easy to accept. Sweet inactivity

floats me to the same end as those

who race with high ambitions.



you serve each minute on a salver.

Taste. Savour. Its spices

flicker on the tongue.

Sip the wine of long-ago grapes.

The flavours mature in the cask,

hints of immortality, undertones of death.



you misdirect us,

concealing aces in your sleeve

as eternity depletes second by second.

You scatter spores of decay,

then disappear into a wrinkle in the air.

Your cloaks of invisibility do not hide


your shining scythe sharpened on dying stars.


from ABOUT TIME, the 2019 anthology of shortlisted entries from The Roger McGough Poetry Prize. Copies of this Anthology can be purchased for £5 including P&P from Arts Richmond.

Personifications of Time by Derek Sellen

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