close close2 chevron-circle-left chevron-circle-right twitter bookmark4 facebook3 twitter3 pinterest3 feed4 envelope star quill

Clock Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Kitchen Clock by Anonymous
  2. My Alarm Clock by Anonymous
  3. The Sundial, Conscientious Objector by Amos Russel Wells
  4. The Old House Clock by Anonymous
  5. The Old Clock by Anonymous
  6. Grandfather's Clock by Henry C. Work
  7. The Old Clock by John Charles McNeill
  8. To My Watch by Hannah Flagg Gould
  9. A clock stopped — not the mantel's by Emily Dickinson
  10. 'T was later when the summer went by Emily Dickinson
  11. John Curzon's Watch by Anonymous
  12. The Old Clock on the Stairs by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  13. Winding the Clock by Edgar A. Guest
  14. The Dumb Old Clock by Mary Stevenson
  15. The Happy Little Clock by Annette Wynne

  1. The Kitchen Clock

    "I'm a very truthful clock:
    People say about the place,
    Truth is written on my face;

    - Anonymous
    The Kitchen Clock
    by Anonymous

    Listen to the kitchen clock!
    To itself it ever talks,
    From its place it never walks;
    "Tick-tock-tick-tock:"
    Tell me what it says.

    "I'm a very patient clock,
    Never moved by hope or fear,
    Though I've stood for many a year;
    Tick-tock-tick-tock:"
    That is what it says.

    "I'm a very truthful clock:
    People say about the place,
    Truth is written on my face;
    Tick-tock-tick-tock:"
    That is what it says.

    "I'm a most obliging clock;
    If you wish to hear me strike,
    You may do it when you like;
    Tick-tock-tick-tock:"
    That is what it says.

    "I'm a very friendly clock;
    For this truth to all I tell,
    Life is short, improve it well;
    Tick-tock-tick-tock:"
    That is what it says.

    What a talkative old clock!
    Let us see what it will do
    When the hour hand reaches two;
    "Ding-ding—tick-tock:"
    That is what it says.

  2. My Alarm Clock

    by Amos Russel Wells

    There's a little dumpy sergeant that calls me to the fray,
    Arousing me from slumber at five o'clock each day.
    At five o'clock precisely he hammers at my door,
    And breaks in forty pieces my most delightful snore.

    This little dumpy sergeant, so prompt and so precise,
    He calls me once with vigor, but he never calls me twice.
    If I choose not to hear him and shut my eyes again,
    Why, I may wake myself up at—nine o'clock or ten.

    There's another little sergeant, who hammers on my heart;
    Who pommels me so briskly he makes me sting and smart.
    While I lie down in darkness and shut my eyes to sin,
    This little sergeant, Conscience, awakes me with his din.

    But ah, this little sergeant, so prompt and so precise,
    He also seldom calls me but once or twice or thrice.
    "Wake up!" he cries, "arouse you, or sleep forevermore!"
    Ah, heed the little sergeant while he is at the door!

  3. The Sundial, Conscientious Objector

    But the Sundial still, in a manner proudly wise,
    Sticks to the Truth in a World of Lies.

    - Anonymous
    For Katrina's Sun Dial
    by Amos Russel Wells

    The Sundial said to the Daylight-Saving Clock:
    "I stand for Truth as steady as a rock.
    Nothing but the Truth do I dare to testify;
    Men may bid me cheat, but I will—not—lie.
    Lying is a mortal sin, cheating is a crime;
    I alone of all the world keep the proper time."

    The Daylight-Saving Clock to the Sundial said:
    "When the sun goes down you are dead, dead, dead.
    Tied like a log to this rolling ball,
    Only half of time do you tell at all.
    I testify to the Truth of Health,
    Speak the Truth of Happiness, tell the Truth of Wealth.

    Yours is the Truth of a dull routine,
    Just the Truth of Matter, of the Sun Machine.
    Your literal Truth is crudely wrought;
    Mine is the Truth of the Higher Thought."

    But the Sundial still, in a manner proudly wise,
    Sticks to the Truth in a World of Lies.

  4. The Old House Clock

    by Anonymous

    Oh! the old, old clock of the household stock,
    Was the brightest thing, and neatest;
    Its hands, though old, had a touch of gold,
    And its chimes rang still the sweetest;
    'T was a monitor, too, though its words were few,
    Yet they lived, though nations altered;
    And its voice, still strong, warned old and young,
    When the voice of friendship faltered:
    "Tick! tick!" it said, "quick, quick, to bed:
    For ten I've given warning;
    Up! up! and go, or else you know,
    You'll never rise soon in the morning!"

    A friendly voice was that old, old clock,
    As it stood in the corner smiling,
    And blessed the time with merry chime,
    The wintry hours beguiling;
    But a cross old voice was that tiresome clock,
    As it called at daybreak boldly;
    When the dawn looked gray o'er the misty way,
    And the early air looked coldly:
    "Tick! tick!" it said, "quick out of bed:
    For five I've given warning;
    You'll never have health, you'll never have wealth,
    Unless you're up soon in the morning!"

    Still hourly the sound goes round and round,
    With a tone that ceases never:
    While tears are shed for bright days fled,
    And the old friends lost forever!
    Its heart beats on, though hearts are gone
    That beat like ours, though stronger;
    Its hands still move, though hands we love
    Are clasped on earth no longer!
    "Tick! tick!" it said, "to the churchyard bed,
    The grave hath given warning;
    Up! up! and rise, and look at the skies,
    And prepare for a heavenly morning!"

  5. The Old Clock

    by Anonymous

    In the old, old hall the old clock stands,
    And round and round move the steady hands;
    With its tick, tick, tick, both night and day,
    While seconds and minutes pass away.

    At the old, old clock oft wonders
    Nell, For she can't make out what it has to tell;
    She has ne'er yet read, in prose or rhyme,
    That it marks the silent course of time.

    When I was a child, as Nell is now,
    And long ere Time had wrinkled my brow,
    The old, old clock both by night and day
    Said,—"Tick, tick, tick!" Time passes away.

  6. Grandfather's Clock

    My grandfather said that of those he could hire,
    Not a servant so faithful he found,
    For it wasted no time and had but one desire,
    At the close of each week to be wound.

    - Henry C. Work
    Grandfather's Clock
    by Henry C. Work

    My grandfather's clock was too tall for the shelf,
    So it stood ninety years on the floor;
    It was taller by half than the old man himself,
    Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
    It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
    And was always his treasure and pride,
    But it stopped short ne'er to go again
    When the old man died.

    In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,
    Many hours had he spent while a boy;
    And in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know
    And to share both his grief and his joy,
    For it struck twenty-four when he entered at the door,
    With a blooming and beautiful bride,
    But it stopped short never to go again
    When the old man died.

    My grandfather said that of those he could hire,
    Not a servant so faithful he found,
    For it wasted no time and had but one desire,
    At the close of each week to be wound.
    And it kept in its place, not a frown upon its face,
    And its hands never hung by its side.
    But it stopped short never to go again
    When the old man died.

  7. The Old Clock

    by John Charles McNeill

    All day low clouds and slanting rain
    Have swept the woods and dimmed the plain.
    Wet winds have swayed the birch and oak,
    And caught and swirled away the smoke,
    But, all day long, the wooden clock
    Went on, Nic-noc, nic-noc.

    When deep at night I wake with fear,
    And shudder in the dark to hear
    The roaring storm's unguided strength,
    Peace steals into my heart at length,
    When, calm amid the shout and shock,
    I hear, Nic-noc, nic-noc.

    And all the winter long 't is I
    Who bless its sheer monotony—
    Its scorn of days, which cares no whit
    For time, except to measure it:
    The prosy, dozy, cosy clock,
    Nic-noc, nic-noc, nic-noc!

  8. To My Watch

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Say, what busy tenant inhabits thy breast,
    Affording thy hands not a moment of rest,
    While prompting thy voice to the ceaseless "tick, tick,"
    As if thou wert ever repeating "quick, quick,"
    And gives thee no time, while thy work thus pursuing,
    To tell what so quick must be done, or is doing?

    "The same little genius so busy with me
    Is he, who is constantly watching by thee;
    Whose task was assigned at thine earliest breath,
    Thy minutes to count, till he leaves thee in death.
    Art thou busy or idle, awake or in slumber,
    He still keeps his vigils, still adds to the number.

    "I pause not to name thee thy work, it is true,
    For I know not the things thou may'st yet have to do,
    But the watch-word I give is to make thee take heed
    How time ever flies, and how matchless its speed:
    Thou may'st read in my face how thy minutes are wasting,
    And thou to that bourne, where they end, art still hasting.

    "For my diligent hands no repose will I ask:
    They, ever employed, just accomplish their task;
    Yet, I know they will rest, when to motionless clay
    That hand shall be changed that hath wound me to-day;
    For my pulse will be stopped, and my voice cease repeating
    My one, only word, when thy heart stills its beating.

    "When low in the earth my loved mistress shall sleep,
    Thy watch will be given to another to keep,
    I shall rouse from my slumbers my work to resume,
    While, silent and cold, lies thy dust in the tomb,
    Far from time and from me, when thy spirit is proving
    What here it performed, while my finger was moving."

  9. A clock stopped — not the mantel's

    by Emily Dickinson

    A clock stopped — not the mantel's;
    Geneva's farthest skill
    Can't put the puppet bowing
    That just now dangled still.

    An awe came on the trinket!
    The figures hunched with pain,
    Then quivered out of decimals
    Into degreeless noon.

    It will not stir for doctors,
    This pendulum of snow;
    The shopman importunes it,
    While cool, concernless No

    Nods from the gilded pointers,
    Nods from the seconds slim,
    Decades of arrogance between
    The dial life and him.

  10. 'T was later when the summer went

    by Emily Dickinson

    'T was later when the summer went
    Than when the cricket came,
    And yet we knew that gentle clock
    Meant nought but going home.

    'T was sooner when the cricket went
    Than when the winter came,
    Yet that pathetic pendulum
    Keeps esoteric time.

  11. John Curzon's Watch

    Conquer—from things as they are!

    - Amos Russel Wells
    John Curzon's Watch
    by Amos Russel Wells

    Have you heard of John Curzon, of Poland?
    A wonderful artisan, he!
    A watchmaker equalled in no land,
    As you, I am sure, will agree.

    For the Czar of the Russias, to try him,
    Commanded a watch for his fob,
    And bade that his envoy supply him
    With all he might use in the job.

    So the messenger brought some wood chippings,
    Some glass that was smashed in a fall,
    Copper nails and some bits of wire clippings,
    And a cracked china cup; that was all!

    John Curzon, this rubbish receiving,
    Contrived, with no other to aid,—
    it is true, though it seems past believing,—
    A watch that was perfectly made!

    The case—it was formed of the china.
    The works were patched up from the rest.
    it was worthy a rez or rigina;
    And Curzon had won in the test!

    So, my lad, with no money and no land,
    And Fate as severe as the Czar,
    Just think you are Curzon of Poland,
    And conquer—from things as they are!

  12. The Old Clock on the Stairs

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Somewhat back from the village street
    Stands the old-fashioned country-seat.
    Across its antique portico
    Tall poplar-trees their shadows throw;
    And from its station in the hall
    An ancient timepiece says to all, —
    "Forever — never!
    Never — forever!"

    Half-way up the stairs it stands,
    And points and beckons with its hands
    From its case of massive oak,
    Like a monk, who, under his cloak,
    Crosses himself, and sighs, alas!
    With sorrowful voice to all who pass, —
    "Forever — never!
    Never — forever!"

    By day its voice is low and light;
    But in the silent dead of night,
    Distinct as a passing footstep's fall,
    It echoes along the vacant hall,
    Along the ceiling, along the floor,
    And seems to say, at each chamber-door, —
    "Forever — never!
    Never — forever!"

    Through days of sorrow and of mirth,
    Through days of death and days of birth,
    Through every swift vicissitude
    Of changeful time, unchanged it has stood,
    And as if, like God, it all things saw,
    It calmly repeats those words of awe, —
    "Forever — never!
    Never — forever!"

    In that mansion used to be
    Free-hearted Hospitality;
    His great fires up the chimney roared;
    The stranger feasted at his board;
    But, like the skeleton at the feast,
    That warning timepiece never ceased, —
    "Forever — never!
    Never — forever!"

    There groups of merry children played,
    There youths and maidens dreaming strayed;
    O precious hours! O golden prime,
    And affluence of love and time!
    Even as a miser counts his gold,
    Those hours the ancient timepiece told, —
    "Forever — never!
    Never — forever!"

    From that chamber, clothed in white,
    The bride came forth on her wedding night;
    There, in that silent room below,
    The dead lay in his shroud of snow;
    And in the hush that followed the prayer,
    Was heard the old clock on the stair, —
    "Forever — never!
    Never — forever!"

    All are scattered now and fled,
    Some are married, some are dead;
    And when I ask, with throbs of pain,
    "Ah! when shall they all meet again?"
    As in the days long since gone by,
    The ancient timepiece makes reply, —
    "Forever — never!
    Never — forever!"

    Never here, forever there,
    Where all parting, pain, and care,
    And death, and time shall disappear, —
    Forever there, but never here!
    The horologe of Eternity
    Sayeth this incessantly, —
    "Forever — never!
    Never — forever!"

  13. Winding the Clock

    by Edgar A. Guest

    When I was but a little lad, my old Grandfather said
    That none should wind the clock but he, and so, at time for bed,
    He'd fumble for the curious key kept high upon the shelf
    And set aside that little task entirely for himself.

    In time Grandfather passed away, and so that duty fell
    Unto my Father, who performed the weekly custom well;
    He held that clocks were not to be by careless persons wound,
    And he alone should turn the key or move the hands around.

    I envied him that little task, and wished that I might be
    The one to be entrusted with the turning of the key;
    But year by year the clock was his exclusive bit of care
    Until the day the angels came and smoothed his silver hair.

    To-day the task is mine to do, like those who've gone before
    I am a jealous guardian of that round and glassy door,
    And 'til at my chamber door God's messenger shall knock
    To me alone shall be reserved the right to wind the clock

  14. The Dumb Old Clock

    by Mary Stevenson

    The old clock stands at the head of the stairs,
    Rickety, crazy and dumb;
    It has served its time for an age that is past,
    Yes, an age that is dumb and dead.

    For years it has chimed out the hours of time,
    As it stood in the quaint old room;
    Reminding its hearers, in mournful tone,
    Of the dreadful day of doom.

    It has gazed on that circle that used to collect,
    In winter when evenings were long;
    Around the old cookstove, so rusty and cracked,
    It has heard those sweet anthems of song.

    It has looked on them all, but where are they now,
    Each form that there used to be found;
    Ah, ask of old time, he has tucked them away,
    In a cold narrow bed 'neath the ground

    When the last closed her eyes in the long sleep of death,
    The old clock grew moody and dumb;
    Nor could threats or entreaties e'er rouse it again,
    But silent it stood in its gloom.

    Then why should the old clock go plodding along,
    Since the friends of its youth are no more;
    In the land of the stranger it knows not the song,
    Let it hang up its harp on the shore.

    And we'll cherish it still for the good it has done,
    In its services year after year;
    And put it away, tho' now it won't run,
    It is yet to my heart no less dear.

    And when tired and weary I long to forget,
    The present with sorrow and care;
    Then in silence I'll visit, and there sit and think,
    By the clock at the head of the stair.

  15. The Happy Little Clock

    by Annette Wynne

    In my garret room, I'm never quite alone,
    I have a small companion all my own,
    A cunning round-faced merry little elf,
    My little China clock upon the shelf.
    It's tick, tick, ticking all the day,
    How I love its cheery steady little way,
    It keeps my garret room
    Free from sprites of fear and gloom,
    The happy little clock upon the shelf.

    It calls me every morning to my work,
    In rain or shine it never tries to shirk;
    The cozy little, honest little elf,
    The busy little clock upon the shelf;
    O it's tick, tick, ticking day and night,
    It ticks its "honest best" with all its might;
    I shall never lack a friend
    When my daytime labors end
    With my little China clock upon the shelf.

Related Poems