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The Clock of Life

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I recently heard this poem and was struck by the message of the poem and thought I would pass it on to my readers.

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

To lose one's wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one's health is more,
To lose one's soul is such a loss
That no man can restore.

The present only is our own,
So Live, Love, toil with a will --
Place no faith in 'Tomorrow' --
For the clock may then be still.

I have found this attributed both to Robert H. Smith and to Etta Johnson, so I am not sure of who actually wrote these words, but the message of this little poem is indeed powerful.

Friend, are you using the ticking down seconds of your Clock of Life in a way that will matter for eternity?

Just my thoughts,



Anonymous said...

My father who is now deceased loved this poem. He had copies made up and mailed it to friends, relatves and gave copies to people he met. He always carried a copy with him. When he passed away I framed one and I keep it above my computer to remeber him by.

Anonymous said...

I live in Texas and my pal Andrew Wilson lived in England. We're both heart transplant recipients. We discussed this very poem "Clock of Life" prior to his death in July 2005 there in London. This poem is now inscibed on Andrew's headstone there in England.

Ol' Bob in Texas

Frank Sansone said...

Ol' Bob and the other anonymous.

Thank you for stopping by. I have been greatly challenged by this poem since I first heard it during a sermon by Evangelist Mark Kittrell.

A friend from my church has since then given me a plaque with these words on it that I keep in my office. It is a fitting reminder of the shortness of life and the pressing reality of eternity.


Anonymous said...

Frank, I've been told by some close friends in England that this poem is on display in a huge Cathedral in England. I don't remember which Cathedral, though. If I can remember which Cathedral, I will post the name. OK? I would love for this poem to be inscibed upon my own headstone, like my pal Andrew Wilson, in above post.

Ol' Bob

Hele said...

I too loved this poem & on doing a little research, went to Chester Cathedral....but it is not there. What I did find there (similar)
When as a child I laughed and wept, Time crept. When as a youth I waxed more bold - Time strolled. When I became a full grown man - time ran. When older still I daily grew - Time flew. Soon I shall find, in passing on - Time gone.
wilt thou have saved me then?

Anonymous said...

In doing some research I saw your post. The author of this poem was "Mom Allison" of Charlotte, NC. It was originally printed in the Readers Digest sometime in the 60'S or 70's. I was Mom Allison's pastor for seven years prior to her death. We discussed the poem on several occassions. She was a dear saint of God!

Anonymous said...

The poem was written by Robert H. Smith and copyrighted in 1932. I remember my father, also a Smith and of Yorkshire descent, standing on a community stage in Nova Scotia and reciting this poem at a gathering in the 1930s. The poem reputedly had its roots in Old Yorkshire, England - variations thereof have appeared from time to time.
We all could do worse than to read this every day of the life left to us.
Earle Smith
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

Anonymous said...

I was born in 1932 and learned this poem at a very early ago and still remember it verbatim. I think it was written long before I was born.

oldbuck said...

Below is my ryming rendition of this lovely poem. I hope no one is offended by my work. oldbuck
An Easter time reminder:

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power to tell
Just when the hands will stop
Or what may ring his bell.

Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, and toil with will.
Place no faith in life or time.
For both may soon be still.

For only He can know for sure
What is in store for you.
A longer life with gold and jewels
Or short, with rewards few.

It’s best we’re kept not knowing
We’d worry needlessly
It’s best we only trust in Him
For trusting is the key.

So brace yourself and buckle in
As life may seem so wrong
But remember this for sure is true
He’s with you all along.

For life is just a test at best,
He aims to prove your will.
He deserves to know your mind
For He has paid your bill.

This brings us now to Easter Day
Tomorrow won’t come late.
He died for us, but lives again
That’s what we’ll celebrate.

So when you’re tucking in tonight
Take some time to pray,
Thank you Lord, In Jesus name.
Is all you need to say.

This Easter time poem was prompted by one written on a scrap of paper found in a dead mans pocket.
Oldbuck March 2008

Anonymous said...

I found this poem amongst my mother's effects after her death and I know she lived with it in mind as even when her life was near the end she still made the most of each and every day. Sadly I lost the scrap of printed paper and have been prompted to search for the poem to pass on to a friend who has just lost his wife at a young age. He too is very ill and I want to encourage him to fight for life and not be discouraged, so I am thankful that I have rediscovered this inspirational poem.

Fiona. England (UK)

Anonymous said...

I was Recently in Melbourne, Aust with a bunch of family when my grandfather recited the poem to my brother and I. We were both moved by the Poem. Although the version of the poem we heard is slightly different to the version i have read alot on the internet we decided to stick with what we had heard and get it Tattooed on our ribcage.. now that i actually have it on my body i feel like i am obligated to live up to it meaning... Wouldn't you?

Anonymous said...

The first time I ever heard this was in 7th grade, about 1962, when Rubinoff the great violinist came to our little ole high school, Rothrock, in McVeytown, Pa. and he read it. The words have always stayed imprinted in my mind and the great music that came from that fine mans violin

Anonymous said...

I was always under the impression that this poem was written by John Makepiece Thackeray but whoever wrote it knew exactly what they were talking about.
Brian in England.

Gerber said...

"The Clock Of Life."

I first came across this poem whilst reading a book on : "Al Capone."
Edward Joseph O'Hare, who's son was Lieutenant Commander "Butch" O'Hare[a decorated war hero]
In fact "O'Hare Airport" is named in his honour.
O'Hare senior was a lawyer working for "Al Capone." Because of his son "Butch" he decided to go straight, but he knew too much!
On a cold dark November day in 1937 he was shot to death from a moving car. In his pocket, besides some Rosary Beads, was this poem: "The Clock Of Life."
I have never quite forgotten that poignant poem.

Kind regards,

Anonymous said...

I first read and copied this poem in the 90's while working in the basement of Stokely Mental Hosp. in Millsboro, Delaware. It was on the last page of a small shirt pocket sized book filled with meeting minutes of a women's group called "Friends Of Delaware Colony", which was the old name of the hospital. There was no author listed. The book was full of Jan. thru May minutes of 1923, so it is hard for me to believe Robert H. Smith wrote and copyrighted it in 1932. Mr. Bill in Delaware Oct. 11, 2013