Elvira says look! there’s a clock
on my watch!
There’s a clock on my watch too.
Now I can watch the time
objectively, as if it weren’t internally
clocking the time with every cell,
every beat of my heart.
Who beats my heart?
I can’t beat time, just watch
Elvira says, I am a dog cat,
woof meow, woof meow.
Anna Jackson was born in 1967; she lives in Auckland with her partner, designer Simon Edmonds, and two children, Johnny and Elvira. Her first collection, The Long Road to Tea-time, was published by Auckland University Press in 2000 and her second, The Pastoral Kitchen, by the same press in 2001. She is a research fellow at the University of Auckland.
Of “Watch” she says: “Elvira, my small daughter, about two at the time, really did say ‘Look, my watch has a clock on it!’ It started me thinking about the difference between clocks and watches and clocking and watching, and that is what the poem is about. Come to think of it, though, much of my poetry — expecially my most recent poetry — is about time in one way or another. The poem ‘In a minute’ is about climbing ‘into a minute’ the way you climb into a car; the series ‘Into the museum of the future’ revisits the Russian futurists, looking backwards at poets looking forwards to the future. Having children is a way of looking always into the future, even while children are so good at focusing our attention on the surprising present.”