Under the Clock

Tony Harrison

Under Dyson’s clock in Lower Briggate
was where my courting parents used to meet.
It had a Father Time and Tempus Fugit
sticking out sideways into the street
above barred windows full of wedding bands,
‘eternities’ to be inscribed with names,
like that I felt on Dad’s when we held hands,
or on Mam’s crumbling finger in cremation’s flames.

Today back on Briggate I stopped and saw
the red hands on the Roman XII and V
those lovers won’t meet under any more,
glad stooping Father Time and I survive.
I see the scythe, the hourglass, the wings,
the Latin you’d proudly ask me to construe
and think of the padded boxes with your rings,
under the clock to keep our rendezvous.