No soft words or gentle whispers
No, not one, though days dance by
To the beat of fragile fingers twining

Ever, always, ticking, ticking
Off some unknown list of faults or triumphs
Impartially relentless in its never-ending count

This metronomic step, this calculus
Of men and means and minds
Could, no – would drown unwariness in delight

And drown they do, sensually so
Happy to go with the ticks, growling, going,
"Let consequence be damned – 'tis I who wish."

Yes, "I", the Romish numerals declare
Each stroke laden with sheer will and wile and whim
And they dance to its tune

On it goes, no end in sight as is its wont
Yet what keeps this count, this metronome
Are not hands of black, but those of flesh