When Time Walks Away

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Over the years, one sometimes forgets the various diversions which have preoccupied us for a season. Perhaps hobbies are the most transitory of things that come and go, but what, really, is a diversion?

Is it a side dish to the main entreés of "work, family and friends?" How far afield from the things really matter must something be for it to truly be a diversion? I think it's safe to say that, by and large, we all have interests that are explored and attempted before, typically, moving on. Perhaps diversions are best understood as things that never quite panned out, or, at best, had an ending.

I made a fairly serious effort at understanding the game of Penté. I studied the game, its strategies, and the tactics of my opponents in two years of on-line gaming (no cash involved...). I eventually found myself ranked in the top 70 players in the world, based on computer rankings of tournament results at three gaming sites. Go me! I also knew that I wasn't going to beat those pesky Russian think-tanks unless I invested even more time and energy. Eh, no thank you.

Some diversions, like Penté, can be tried and left in the past. Others recur.

My first poem was about zinnias (they were three feet tall and my sister cried when they were cut - ah, the stuff of true literature!), and it was included in a small book of poems while I was a student at Merrywood Elementary. It was pretty cool stuff to be published at such a tender age, and I didn't even get beaten up on the playground. My efforts at poetry became regular in 7th - 12th grades (an affordable means of escapism?), occasional in college (better things to do), and rare since (now why is that?).

I've just re-discovered one from the rarity period, which is rarer still as it is my only effort at writing a song. It was written in 1998, mostly while listening to Son Volt's "Wide Swing Tremolo," which was released that year. It's strange what one remembers.

To be fair, it is not a song. It is a lyric. The formula for a song is fairly simple: Song = poem + chorus + tune. Two out of three ain't bad?

Ah, but the music... I never came up with a tune, which wasn't surprising or unexpected. After all, when it comes to music, I'm best equipped to play a CD. Oh, fine... I'm not that limited. I can handle a turntable, cassette, 8 track and, yes, even an I-pod...and a kazoo, if forced and with no one listening.

Re-reading this lyric, the meter is far from perfect, but it captures fairly well that small eternity in which one debates if it's the right time to say the thing that needs to be said, and heard, in a relationship. I know... I shouldn't give away the answer before you come to the question.

When Time Walks Away

The kiss has been tried;
The time’s just flown away.
But is now the right time
For what I’ve wanted to say?

Do your eyes ask a question?
It seems words are due.
But if I risk an answer
Will you feel that way too?

If time would walk away
I’d be caught staring at you
But my mouth would be hanging open
And you’d be staring at me, too.

If time would walk away
I’d have time to figure how to say –
I love you.

This porch light flickers
The moment keeps getting wider
The words are on my tongue
But my lips have gotten tighter

Somewhere I know there are words
That would give you a reason why
To shine that look and a smile my way
Each time I meet your eyes.

If time would walk away
I’d go grab a pen and paper
And surely I’d find the words
Three or four sheets later

If time would walk away
I’d know my heart wants to say –
I love you.

You step closer within my arms
And all the world feels right,
All except my pounding heart
On, otherwise, a perfect night.

Your ear brushes my lips
Your eyes are out of sight.
But did you step closer to hear
Me say those things I might?

If time would walk away
I know the words would be few
But all that time I’d be thinking
Of how to say them to you.

If time would walk away
I’d surely get the nerve to say –
I love you.

Your face shines so brightly
And I know it’s just for me
A future without you in it
Is a future I can’t see.

There’s just three words
That I’ve had tucked away.
I hope you want to hear them.
So hear me when I say:

Time always walks away
Whenever I’m with you.
I live for these times,
When the world comes down to two.

When time walks away
Now and forever I’ll say –
I love you.

Diversions like creative writing are ultimately part of the fabric of life, just as much as "the things that really matter"... and The Andy Griffith Show, Clemson football, a robot shooting a blaster, blogging to an audience that can be counted on one hand, etc. That fabric grows a little larger each year, and this lyric is a welcome reminder not of a failed exploration but of part of who I am.

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