A bout now

a bout This poem was partly inspired by an article by Laura Spinney ‘The time illusion: how your brain creates now’. (New Scientist, 10th January 2015).

Just how long is ‘now’? It seems that, for most of us, our ‘experienced moment’ is probably of a few seconds duration.

Scientists believe that the experience we call ’now’ takes a little longer than the time required for our senses to be affected by changes in the world. And slightly longer again is needed to create a flowing sensation of continuity.

Of course our perception of this flow of time varies. Sometimes when we are most focussed – meditating, fearful or highly excited, time itself can seem to move more slowly, as our brains race to catch every single beat…


A bout now

Tu te tiens pret en la guarde seconde:
A low guard with wrist pronated…

Our stage is set,
the blind springs back,
the shutter rolls and
the play begins.
The time is now.

Allez! Avec un appel en temps cassée:
Coupé, disengage, attaque au fer, parry-riposte…

Tiny spun foot actors
glide from sensed to seen,
dernier denial tendering
dramas at vernier scales.
The time is now.

Et, avec belle courage et une cadence forte:
Remise. Lunge. Remise, step, and lunge again…

A thistledown breath trapped
between accession and surprise,
hard skinned fingertips scraping
fabric tensed over skin.
The time is now.

Un dérobement subtil et vite, et puis:
Engaged coulé, forte held firm to foible…

Scented anticipation,
the possibility of all things,
aspiration’s dew
poised on tenterhooks.
The time is now.


Please pardon my French – like my fencing, it’s more than a little rusty!
Read more‘The time illusion: how your brain creates now’.
(New Scientist, 10th January 2015)

About stevedsmart

Steve Smart is a poet and visual artist who also has experience in information design. View all posts by stevedsmart

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