Chimes

Time stops the instant

we fail to see the pain and

the beauty suchlike


A week ago, this clock chimed for the first time, perhaps in my lifetime. It's a beautiful sound, just loud enough, with just the right pitch, to make you stop whatever you're doing and listen . . . the same as if you were walking through a forest and in the distance you heard a bird calling out to only you. This is an Ansonia "Verona" clock manufactured in 1907, probably purchased at the Georgia Stimson Furniture & Carpet Company. It has Ferdinand Barbedienne bronze ornaments, a French sash, beveled glass, a porcelain dial and an immaculate black enameled iron case. Perhaps it was just this superfluous, bourgeoisie representation--according to Jean Paul Sartre--that caught my great-grandfather's eye. The inner mechanism is itself a work of art. If I remember correctly, this clock sat centered on the top of a dresser that sat on the wall opposite the fireplace in my grandparent's living room. I can't be sure, but it seems to me the mantle would not have borne the weight or austerity of this rare treasure.


Right after my wonderful friend, Steve the clock whisperer, returned this to me I began thinking about what it meant to have carried this clock with me on every move but had never heard it chime. Time had stopped while the world kept moving. If this clock is to have meaning then it will need to chime through the good and the bad.

St. Louis, Missouri, 1907

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