Dalí’s Clock

“Though lovers be lost, love shall not;
and Death shall have no Dominion.”
Dylan Thomas

Dalí’s Clock 1 & 2 / 7


 Dalí’s Clock


I have folded Dalí’s clock,

draping time’s dressing gown

over the foot of her bed.

An elephant with a crane-fly’s

spindly legs

stands on the bedside cabinet.

Is the human body

a chest of drawers

to be opened and closed

at will

and things removed?

On the operating table,

a sewing machine

and a bread knife

wait inside

a black umbrella

for their next



A hedgehog caught in the glare

of onrushing lights,

she has curled herself into a ball.

My words are wasted


lips, tongue, bared teeth.

Limp kites

with nothing to fill their paper sails,

they hang like abandoned bodies

on the old barbed wire

stretched between us.

A metallic sun

gashes harsh light.

The needles in her arm

throw an ever-plunging

sea of shadows:

bruised sunsets

on a purple horizon.

16 thoughts on “Dalí’s Clock

  1. Octavio Paz always said that he wasn’t a surrealist. He used surrealist style imagery but structured it into the poems in such a way that, while retaining the spontaneity and power of the metaphors he used them to illustrate the longer narrative. That is certainly what I am trying to do.


    • Thanks, Tanya. The images are drawn from Dalí’s surrealist paintings and the Surrealist Manifesto of André Breton. I have borrowed their images and applied them to my own situation. I wrote this while visiting my mother in hospital in Wales. I had flown over from Canada to be with her but I didn’t realize that the illness would be fatal and so I left her only to return a few weeks later for her funeral. It was early spring and the flowers were just coming out and the birds starting to sing. These are the first two sequences of a seven sequence poem (DalÍ’s Clock) which is the first of the six long poetic sequences that make up Though Lovers Be Lost …

      Liked by 1 person

    • I really like the way the surrealists handle their imagery. However, like Octavio Paz, I have moved a way from free writing and much prefer to anchor the imagery into a thematically unified narrative sequence composed of metaphors and tight-knit imagery. I am not sure whether we subvert reality when we do this or merely enhance it. I would be happy either way!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, I completely see that… your work definitely have excellent structure and does have thematic elements which make it much accessible than say if I was reading anything from the early surrealists or something from the Dada period. There is definitely a line between subverting reality and being completely insane but you are definitely, comfortably within it.

        Liked by 1 person

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