Closer to you now

The slow steady pace of the slow steady stars,
the mad heady race of the hands ‘round the face
of the clock that first ticked when you were born.
This is the beast that hid in the dark
to chase you and test you and often times best you,
never once ever letting you stop.

In the shadows of the flickering candle
the beast stalks you slowly tonight.
The fluttering pulse at your neck,
the gentle rise of your breast,
the heat of your castaway breath…
I am closer to you now
than the blood that flows in your veins.

This poem dates from when I first met my wife. In the intervening years, ”time” is no longer quite the beast it was back then.  As we age we know that we face inevitable decline, but that is the nature of the journey, and it is a wonderful journey for all of that.

The final two lines are based on an Arabic saying, “God is closer to you than your own jugular.”

Thank you for reading Closer to you now. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2012 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2012 by John Etheridge,



Filed under Poetry

12 responses to “Closer to you now

  1. Interesting poem John. >KB

  2. I like the way that there is a commentary about the poem. It helps me understand. Now, the question is what happened that made her blush? Don’t have to have to answer this. Just one of the thoughts going through the silly mind. I do, however, the meaning of the last two lines.

    • Seeker, so glad you enjoyed it. What made Lyn blush was simply the fact that I read it at all, although I am never shy about stating how much I love her in public. It’s also (no surprise) I think, her favorite poem, too. Or at least high up on the list.

  3. Ok, you know I LOVE this one John. Your wife must adore it too. That feeling of closeness… sigh! Now I am going to go stare into the distance. Thanks for sharing this one John.

    • Actually, yes, Lyn does adore it and I am profoundly grateful that I was gifted with such a wonderful poem so as to be able to give it to her. So very glad you liked it.

  4. Decline? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps it just shifted into something different. Or you can change it into something else. The journey is a long one with marriage and one I am looking forward to someday if it happens. As you know, I’m going through my own journey through Single-dom and on a side note, I respect the Arabic saying as my mum if half Arab. Beautiful post my friend. xx

    • Thank you very much! There are a number of wonderful Arabic sayings that I would love to work into some poems. This one just fit so well that I almost felt at the moment that it was coined for me, for this poem! 🙂 It wasn’t of course, but I cannot deny that I was lucky.

  5. Wonderful, John! I agree it is a poem to be really proud of! The saying does fit beautifully.

    • Thank you, Denise! My apologies for taking so long to get back to you but I took a very much needed hiatus over the holidays.

  6. There is a rythm here that I ilike … And some of your other poems have a similar rythm. The clock does not wield the power that it once did …Thanks for sharing your good words, good heart. T

    • The clock, the clock, the awful clock,
      which does not tick so much as toll.

      You are always so kind and gracious. Thank you. My apologies for taking so long to get back to you but I took a very much needed hiatus over the holidays.