Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 23, 2018

Reading Augustine: Two

“I know time rules me, and I long for its end when time is no more.”

 

I cannot see the speed of time.  Who can?

Invisible thing, waiting, here and gone

Somewhere (to wait again?). I wonder now

While time rushes by my eyes to some then,

Has time a place, a country, where seconds, minutes,

Hours and all its other known forms reside ?

What there governs the Land of Time?  How long

May each period of Time’s government

Continue?  And by whom?  Is it self ruled?

Does it see itself move and self adjust?

 

Does each period know its place, its time

To move, or in the Land of Time to wait?

Where, after it has done what it must do,

Does it return, to wait, to repeat,

To do it again what had been done before.

Again! Ages upon endless ages?

 

Time cannot be a democracy, nor

Will its appearance, length, duration

In being, yet surely exists, closely

Involved in all things we need to take time

To do.  Where then is time stored, to be used

Counted out, measured, and put to work for us?

Used well or wasted, frittered away.

Whatever that means.  How may I save it

I often wonder, as I am told it’s

Slipping away, someday will be all gone.

 

Is it all in my mind and nothing more?

But, when there is no time left what will take

Its place for we who have lived for so long

Under its rule?  For, as the saying goes,

“Time rules all things!”  Come chaos then, or peace

In timeless rest?  That all depends, I guess

On the use we make of it.  Use it well

And one goes to heaven.  Unwisely?  Hell!

 

“Could anyone measure past periods that no longer exist, or future periods that do not yet exist?  Only someone who is bold enough to claim that what has no being can be measured.  So then, while time is passing it can be felt and measured, but once past it cannot, because it no longer exists.”  Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions: Ignatius Critical Ed., Bk XI, Ch. 16, p.347


Categories

%d bloggers like this: