Thursday, April 25, 2013

Time As Wreckage, Blood As A School Device

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient analog computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900–1901 from the Antikythera wreck, but its significance and complexity were not understood until a century later. Jacques Cousteau visited the wreck in 1978 but, although he found new dating evidence, he did not find any additional remains of the Antikythera mechanism. The construction has been dated to the early 1st century BCE. Technological artifacts approaching its complexity and workmanship did not appear again until the 14th century AD, when mechanical astronomical clocks began to be built in Western Europe.

A wooden fence still stands there. Children bring
bits of food to the ruins by the shore
and leave the food by the frame with no door
and mice come. Kids wait for the other thing

and tell stories and laugh but their hands wring
as the kids jump over boards from a floor
rather than step on them. Kids know folklore.
Kids know the words to say, chant, even sing

as if the wreckage were a mad device,
a construction of wood fragments on rocks,
a device to occupy the creature,

keep it busy trapping, eating the mice,
like bloody gears turning in bloody clocks.
Kids learn time like it’s a bloody teacher.

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