In the Fifth Chamber Lies the Hour’s End


In the Fifth Chamber Lies the Hour’s End

To fairly allocate irrigation resources, the Persians measured time with water,
sinking a bowl in a larger vessel and tallying the count with pebbles.

And what is time but counting, determining the number of units within a set?

The sum of beats between silences and their diminishing echoes?

Its symbol in the West grew from fig and ivy leaves, while early medical
illustrations depicted pine cone-shaped organs.

In most reptilians, the aorta receives only oxygenated blood.

Qanats pump by gravity. The hagfish’s second resides in its tail.

Recognize the empty as full. Squeezed shut, we open.
Contraction and flow, ejection, inflow, relaxation.

Emotion as electrical impulse. Murmuring valves. The color red.

The fifth chamber remains silent and undetected.

The primitive fish’s chambers are arranged sequentially, but in an S-shape.
Ancients believed arteries transported air through the body.

The Buddhist figure, too, originated in leaves, symbolizing not love

but enlightenment. The ache of failure confounds us.

mechanical heart

40 thoughts on “In the Fifth Chamber Lies the Hour’s End

  1. I’ve always equated the way time confounds me (always has, always will…) with failure. But it is good to be reminded that time is not my construct, and thus my inability to pour myself into time like water into a bucket is anything but unnatural. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What the world needs is more people like you. I see door upon door inside this poem, each opening to new chambers of understanding. The Fifth Chamber remains somewhere, beckoning. Thanks for sharing this. You are so popular – deservedly – I sometimes wonder if posting comments or likes would burden you. But in this case I cannot help myself!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Comments and likes are always welcome and never a burden. I have so few ways of gauging whether anyone reads my posts, and am truly grateful when readers take time out of their busy days to comment. That’s truly a gift. And thank you for your generous remarks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that this poem requires multiple reads, reminding me that Scottish poet Kenneth White’s poems often do as well, leaving me going back over a poem multiple times before, “Voila!” I get, see and feel it. I’ll keep this one with me and give it that kind of a read . Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So much wonderful imagery! After reading the poem a few times somehow I feel at peace with the confines of time and the timelessness of Life’s Mysteries . . . at least for the moment.

    Several years ago a friend shared with me her belief that a soul determines before incarnating the number of heart beats its body will experience on earth . . .. hmmm I thought, maybe I shouldn’t use up my beats with aerobic exercise.

    Liked by 2 people

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