An Engineer's Literary Notebook

Exploring the real and surreal connections between poetry and engineering

Clock Trees

Posted by xbanguyen on December 13, 2009

Leaning over the fallen monkshood, the daphne stiffens. It is early December but winter is already entrenched in my garden. The earth smells sharp with the scent of inevitability as I gather the rose hips and remember how lush the summer was. I have many rose shrubs but no trees. Perhaps that’s why the five poplars that marched up the hill toward a cottage in Dingle of long ago are still on my mind. But the lack of trees notwithstanding, I ought to be more content because there are many kinds of trees, not least are the clock trees in my other world of ASIC design. Not everyone gets to synthesize such intricate trees except we ASIC engineers. A dubious pleasure, you may beg to differ, if you are familiar with that perilous realm fraught with forbidden windows that send unwary signals into abject oscillation. I suppose that it is easy to be flippant now because the havoc that large clock skews could wreak on an ASIC is temporarily a thing of the past. Why is it that everywhere I turn, I see the impact of time? Why not turn the table? Why not consider the baring of their branches a way for the poplars to consume time? Yet, would it be better not to resist but to learn the rhythm of time to get some peace? There are many things to learn.   Ask Louise Bogan.

Knowledge

Now that I know
How passion warms little
Of flesh in the mould,
And treasure is brittle,–

I’ll lie here and learn
How, over their ground
Trees make a long shadow
And a light sound.

Louise Bogan

I can’t very comfortably lie down on this frigid piece of earth now.  But if I could, would I be able to hear Persephone pacing the grand halls of the underworld?  Would I be able to see Demeter’s tears like a waterfall glistening in the moonlight?


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