Korf invents a superclock.
Double hands adorn its dial.
With one set, time advances while
the other ticks its backward tock.
At two o’clock, it’s therefore ten.
at three, it’s nine o’clock as well.
One glance suffices to dispel
the terrors Time inspires in men,
for Korf’s clock’s Janus-like precision
(the rationale of its design)
is tuned so very very fine
Time self-destructs from indecision.
Palmer’s clock is different: viz,
as tender as mimosa is,
it so reacts to man’s distress,
it always answers Help! with Yes!
and has been known (when prayers are said),
will lag behind or leap ahead
one hour, two hours- even three –
so active is its empathy.
A clock it is in every point
but one: It cannot disappoint.
A thing of cogs and gears and wheels,
it has a ticking heart that feels.
Korf, admiring erudition,
collects himself in an Edition
(the print of course is very fine).
Its covers close across his spine
and pages open to the side
like wings, voluminously wide.
Burdened by the literal weight
of learning when he stands up straight,
he finds, the moment he reclines,
an easy read between the lines.
You haven’t traveled round the globe?
Seen Nairobi? Crossed the Gobi?
Visited Tibet’s plateau?
I haven’t, no – I never will.
I’m just a local wind, you know.
Have you seen Charlie’s Bar & Grill?
Can’t say I have, child. Well, goodbye.
Paris – Amsterdam – Shanghai…
The Obedient Giant
Korf has met a certain giant
whose wife hand feeds him day and night
whatever she dislikes on sight.
This giant is so compliant
he opens wide while she inserts
behind his teeth hors d’oeuvres, desserts,
and entrees from the ready store
of things she has no liking for,
and there’s not much she likes or wants,
from flying ants to elephants:
mountains, rivers, highways, trees,
with their inhabitants and houses
are lodged in her complacent spouse’s
mouth, alongside beards and wigs,
cutlery and oil rigs.
In short, this husband’s mouth of hers
accommodates a universe.
She dislikes Korf, and in he goes:
presto, open! presto, close!
to vanish wholly with the rest –
But Korf is spirit, spirit’s blessed –
and that’s the single reason why
he reemerges by and by.