There are four vibrators, the world’s exactest clocks;
and these quartz time-pieces that tell
time intervals to other clocks,
these worksless clocks work well;
and all four, independently the
same are there, in the cool Bell
(The version printed in Complete Poems of Marianne Moore has slightly different wording in a couple of places: “independently the same, kept in / the 41° Bell” for lines 5–6, and “newborn progeny) that punctuality / is not a crime.” for lines 47–48.)
What is this poem about? What form is it written in? What is “the Giraudoux truth-bureau”? Is the third stanza a good explanation of a quartz clock’s sensitivity to temperature? What is the train of thought linking quartz clocks in the first stanza to Giradoux in the second to the lemur-student in the fourth to metathesis in the fifth? Why is the bell-boy carrying a buoy-ball? In what way does the speaking clock resemble the god Jupiter? Why does Jupiter tell Chronos that “punctuality is not now a crime”? What happened to the last line?