It may be too late


Resolution is the accuracy of what you know,
latency the pause to grasp it,
hesitation the wait to action
and duration how long you understand it.

Clearly, Mr. Time is, at best,
an awkward fellow to know.
He is, at first, all bluff fun and bonhomie,
good-natured and full of laughs. But then
he grows shiftier the longer he sticks around,
until with a slap of surprise and a wink of wonder
he’s off, and you, you’re just left there,
bemused, knowing you’ve bought into
something that you’d perhaps rather not have,
but it’s too late, you’re left holding it,
not quite sure what ‘it’ is; knowing only
that it must be valuable and thinking
there’s something that is yet undone.
It’s not until the end that you see him, not for him,
(for his own sake) but you for you (for your own)
immediately, instantly and forever. And by then…


The photograph was taken in Bodie State Park, Bodie California…a very real ghost town. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its copyright holder.


Filed under Poetry

11 responses to “It may be too late

  1. I want to know what bonhomie is. It sounds “good”.
    You enjoy your “free” time. We can be patient for the next one.

    • Bonhomie comes from the French ‘Bon homme’: ‘happy or good man’. I would translate it as good humor, but the sense of it is to be boisterous. It’s not standard American? That’s what you get letting us Canucks in…there goes the neighborhood! 🙂

  2. John…so very fine. Bodie is a favorite place for me…I write poems about it…and it’s a state of mind you capture with exquisite photography and poetry.

    • You’ve been to Bodie ALSO?!?!? I am blown away that someone else I know has been there. (That’s some road to get there, huh?!?! Thank heavens I was in a rental!)

      Here is a poem specifically about Bodie. Can you point me to any of your Bodie specific poems?

      The place was so surreal and emotive. I wished I could have stayed longer. I also have a bunch of pictures from there. And here.

      • Bodie…twice. We had a Jeep…see a road and find where it went. Loved the other worldness of it. Thanks for your pictures, John Oh, the poem is “Bye God. We’re going to Bodie” June 25, 2014. I think you’ll like it.

  3. Barbara Minor

    so wonderful…and time is usually my friend

    • The interesting thing about time, I think, is that it seems like such a reasonable and ‘normal’ thing. But as physicists study it and try to understand it and define it in a fundamental way, it gets slipperier and slipperier to quantify. ‘Abdu’l-Baha says that we only believe in time because we see the stars move across the sky. That made me realize that time was a physical phenomenon and that when we go to the next world there is no such thing as time. Try getting that in your head! 🙂 Time does get slipperier the more you think about it! 🙂

  4. Your poetry captures diversity in words clear and spare like the town. Thought I might feel a voyeur at first, then began to identify with its character…talked in clipped sentences…sat observing the few visitors as if I lived there in my Bodie. A trip to the mine reinforced how hard and bleak it was to earn a living. Sometimes I slip into a Bodie state of mind just to clear my thoughts. Smile.

  5. John, this image powerfully ushers in the treasures from pen and experience, and from the wild poet-warrior you are. An intense picture. This piece about time takes brings me in and I could camp here, for a bit … ‘Ever heard the expression, “Things are not always as they appear”? That is just one thought that comes through my mind, along with the words “ambivalence”, “elusive”, “mysterious”. And I choose this piece to highlight: “Clearly, time is, at best, an awkward fellow to know.”

    • T, forgive me! I had not realized there was an unanswered response on this poem! Thank you so much! 🙂

      I think I am getting old enough to recognize that time is not necessarily our friend…that it is all too possible to leave off doing what must be done for what one wants to do, only to realize that sometimes it is too late…