“On Time” by IRENE K


Originally posted by Irene K on her substack, The Poetry Lantern, on June 2023

Summer has finally graced us with her presence. The days are longer than usual. The sun sets very late at night, filling everything with light. It feels almost metaphorical as if it has transported me into the realms of healing and hopeful light. My eyes are adjusting to this luminosity that has descended upon places that were dark for years. I feel naïve and utterly foolish to feel this deeply and write about it here :).

Do I know what magic potion I stumbled upon to feel this lightness? Has my existential crisis vanished? Heck no, most of the bigger issues still lurk around the corner. Some days, I miss meditating and journaling. There are bad days too. The key is perhaps in this reformed relationship with time. I will skim through the surface in this short reflection. I feel the meaning of time has changed for me over the years. It has sculpted itself into a new living variation that shows up in my interactions with it. In the morning, the surrounding sounds transport me into the new day, my favourite being the birds, the voices of my neighbours, and the children going to school.

As time passes, it reveals itself, much like the light entering my bedroom. There are days when I lie on my bed, watching the reflection of the wind catcher’s shadows dancing in the room. The slanting shadows of the windscreen change position, reminding me that summer is here. Myriads of wildflowers proclaim their time to flourish. There are signs of changing times everywhere I look around. With a deep sigh, I can feel the moors of grief and loss floating away. They sail to anchor somewhere far and will return someday with new questions and worries.

Speaking of time, I am reminded of Kate Bowler’s recent comment at an event that I attended. She spoke about how we experience time in relation to the phases we go through in life. If I were to apply that definition, I feel that time stopped for me at certain points during the past few years. When I struggled with different issues, time felt like a boulder crushing me. Now, I feel I am in an expansive and ordinary time. There is nothing amazing happening in the current phase of life. This is an ordinariness and inconsequential phase of my life that still feels special.

I also relate to Jenny Odell’s exploration of the same theme. I am living in the Odell phase with more presence. Odell, in her latest book, Saving Time, writes about how the evolution of time and how our relationship with the clock has shaped our lives. It’s an insightful and thought-provoking read. There are so many parts, especially around sensing time in natural timescales, that deeply resonate with me. She writes, “Maybe ‘the point’ isn’t to live more, in the literal sense of a longer or more productive life, but rather, to be more alive in any given moment”. If you don’t have time for the book, I highly recommend this talk.

The road to embracing “time” with more grace took me years. It feels like I have found a liminal third space where I engage and interact with time. I have gained new lenses through which I choose to navigate life. I witness the gentle flow of contentment where the waters of tranquillity caress the riverbanks of my soul. Like the river of time twists and turns, so do my emotions. They take unexpected detours, leading me through tumultuous rapids and treacherous bends. The beauty lies not in the calm of a serene stream but in the wild dance of contrasting emotions. These continuous engagements with time often feel epistolary.

During this passage of time, I am reminded that grief is not a mere void, but a testament to the depth of my connections. Like a shadow that never leaves, it reflects the love and friendships that once illuminated my life. The beauty lies in remembrance, in the bittersweet dance between joy and sorrow that keeps the flame of connection alive within me.

I am reminded that by delving into the depths of my emotional terrain; I come to know myself more fully, forging a deeper connection with the world around me.

As I walk on this pilgrimage, I realise that the adage time being a great healer is truer than ever. Through the mosaic of time, I am learning to treat joy and sorrow, love and loss, as lifelong companions walking me home. The rays of light feel like messengers from the shadows of the other world that lies deep beneath. It reminds me to be tender, caring, and loving towards myself.

In recent weeks, I have been dropping years of conditioning around my relationship with myself and others. It feels like I am the sculpture being chiselled by the tools of time and experiences.

In this journey to light, I’ve got lucky with people who’ve helped me tremendously. I finally feel like I’ve got a tribe of people who uplift me to become better in the worldly and inner spheres of life. Thank you, you all know who you all are <3

For a change, I have been singing “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri as a song for myself, trying to come home.”

The questions that I have been asking myself are,

  • How can I show up with more generosity and grace towards myself when I feel conflicted or pained?
  • How can I offer space and tenderness to others in painful times?

For this edition, I chose two poems that are befitting for this week. Ada Limon, I loooove her. I think I will do a special edition of her poems. Raymond Carver’s short poem written while battling cancer is a poignant reflection of life.

Instructions On Not Giving Up by Ada Limon 

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

Late Fragment by Raymond Carver 

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.

And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

I included these beautiful verses while trying to research on the late fragment poem. I am not sure of the author (it credits T) that I found on the readalittlepoetry site


The world changes, from day to day. Whether I want it or not. Whether I’m prepared for it or not. Whether I pay attention or not.

I exist. Now, to live —


How does one begin again?

There’s starting over from scratch. Throwing away what has been, to make room for what will be. There’s turning to a new page. Starting again. With reminders of what was in the background. (A memory? A ghost?) There’s continuance. Just keeping at it. It goes on. Same page, same hauting. But you go on.

What does it take to rebuild a life?


When you live in the dark for so long, you begin to love it. And it loves you back, and isn’t that the point? You think, the face turns to the shadows, and just as well. It accepts, it heals, it allows.

But it also devours.


There was a deep sea; I was drowning, and I let it embrace me. I was floating and not breathing, and calling it a life. But now there is light. I can see it. It’s time to swim towards it.

If you, my dear friend, are going through a time submerged in grief, pain or difficulties, you got to hang on there. The glowworms of hope and redemption will light up your life before you know it. But you must learn to become friends with the good and bad times in your life, ask curious questions, have conversations and, above all, hold yourself in tenderness. Time will shine a light on all the unsolved and unresolved parts. Everything sad, difficult, and even good comes to pass.

As for me, I have now started to find peace and joy in offering my presence to a purpose and need that’s beyond me. Until next time, have a lovely summer/winter/monsoon wherever in the world you are 🙂 Here are a few glimpses of my dance with time 🙂