pool, lilypads

This picture, taken with a vintage filter, captures some of the surreal, shimmering quality of Time expressed by W.J. Turner in his poem: In Time Like Glass. Turner was influenced by Einstein’s emerging theories on time and relativity, and struggled to poetically render these concepts as he saw them–past as an eternal present, where nothing truly disappears, or time as glass preserving both seemingly transitory events and even fixed objects such as mountains. What is past, what is present? What is sky, what is reflection of sky?

In Time like glass the stars are set,
And seeming-fluttering butterflies
Are fixéd fast in Time’s glass net
With mountains and with maids’ bright eyes.

Above the cold Cordilleras hung
The wingéd eagle and the Moon:
The gold, snow-throated orchid sprung
From gloom where peers the dark baboon

The Himalayas’ white, rapt brows
The jewel-eyed bear that threads their caves
The lush plains’ lowing herds of cows
That Shadow entering human graves

All these like stars in Time are set
They vanish but can never pass
The Sun that with them fades is yet
Fast-fixed as they in Time like glass


W.J. Turner 1889-1946; Georgian poet, writer and critic

See my previous post on Turner, The Lost Poet


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