Listen to the author read it:
On Halloween night the children rushed in
To a quaint little shop on the far side of town.
Their bags full of sweets revealed where they’d been:
Roaming streets through the night—little vagabond clowns.
But do you know why they love to come here?
Oh, it’s not for the tour of the grandfather clocks,
The clockmaker’s voice or length of his beard,
Not the dings or the dongs or the ticks or the tocks.
They care not a bit for things such as these.
Their objective is clear: raid his great candy crate;
Reach into the box and take what they please.
Disregard any fear of a big belly ache.
But he takes it slow, describing his work,
For the clockmaker knows he has all they desire.
He talks of the cuts, the beautiful curves;
He’s a master of wood that they all should admire.
His art is a means of serving the time,
A grandfatherly love that stays frozen in place;
The dearly departed, looking divine
In a vertical shrine with a window-framed face.
Then one little boy stepped up on a stool.
He saw more in my face than the wood and the ink.
He knew I was real—somehow he could tell.
So I strained my blue eyes, but I just couldn’t wink.
I wanted to scream! I wanted to shout:
Run away, little boy, don’t you dare hang around!
Just pick up your bag; get up and get out.
But, of course, I can’t talk—can’t do anything now.
Like grandfathers, but without any kids,
We’ve been here for so long, feeling just barely real.
If only our families knew where we’ve been:
In the clockmaker’s shop all the time standing still.
Copyright 2016 Robert Burton Robinson