Time is a concept we simply can’t ignore
It can empower us when we have enough of it
It can enslave us if we have too little of it
It can be our friend if we use it wisely
But it has been described as ‘the Old Enemy’
In mensuration it is the ‘fourth dimension’

The coming of the railways standardized our time
Eventually all the clocks recognizing Greenwich
The agreement of time gave birth to the timetable
Not only for transport – in our schools and colleges too
Thus came the tyranny of ‘double maths’ on Mondays!
And international travel can’t ignore time differences

The factory system exercised control by the time clock
And processes subject to the time-and-motion study
Which seeks to optimize all that’s time consuming
Even in our family life we find the need of time management
And thus was born the modern plea for right work/life balance
We need to employ time savers to ensure some time out!

Elite athletes often find themselves in a race against time
Their lives devoted to shaving miniscule amounts of time
From existing records – Electronic time-keeping
Seems to have made us all more conscious of time
Will there ever be a time when humans can run 100 metres
In virtually no time at all?

But time can also be our friend – considering our whole lifespan
On average we have more time to spend on this mortal coil
More time for reflection, even more ‘time for amendment of life’
Thus some of the older time constraints have disappeared
Our lifetime segmented into learning time, working time, retirement time
Although the costs of this may be a personal and national time-bomb!

As the years have progressed we see the influence of time and time keeping
Become more pervasive in all aspects of our human lived experience
Think of the old adage – time is money; or time restricted offers
Or time-lines in historical analysis; or time capsules and time machines
Of science fiction. And when one mentions deadlines we are reminded
of the pressure which time exerts on us so often

And so I could go on – if only I had enough time!
But none of us can go on forever – our existence is time bound
And I am reminded of that great hymn of Isaac Watts
Where he refers to ‘Time Like and Ever Rolling Stream
Bears all its Sons away’. And perhaps the only message to learn
Is to savour each and every moment of the time we have

Ken Fisher

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