Time and Again Summary and Analysis

Written by A.K.Ramanujan, the poem Time and Again starts with a request to readers to listen to the sounds of the old clock towers of any old and well-managed city. If the readers listen to the sound produced by the beating of the gongs of the clock tower carefully, they will notice that the clock towers bear some differences in time. Owing to the distinction in time amongst the clock towers, one can notice a difference in the sound produced by each clock tower to mark the time throughout the day. The difference between the time shown in the different clock towers also reflects geographically and reflects the different time zones in different countries.

Time and Again Summary

The poet explains the various probable reasons for the variation in time in the different clock towers in old cities that have been managed well. The poet says that the different clock towers of the city create a different sequence of sounds after every thirty minutes because of the varying raw materials used to build the towers.

The poet refers to Switzerland because it is considered the most reputable hubs of the clock or watch manufacturing, and they are known to be the best across the world. The poet reasons that there is a possibility that in Switzerland, a manufacturer’s hand shivered during the manufacturing process, which resulted in different clock tower’s gongs ringing at different times. He concludes that there is a probability that the reason for the difference in time in various clock towers is human beings. The poet has used the clock tower as imagery, and the different sounds created by different clock towers in old cities are symbolic of the distance and differences between humans.

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The poet refers to the known people who make donations for the construction of clock towers and says that the distance and difference among humans possibly result from the uncertainty and unpredictability of these known people who donate money. The reason behind this is the contrary religious beliefs of these known people that eventually reach the ordinary people of the society. The distance among humans honors the memory of the famous donors of society. The donors are practically the contractors of religion that spread and propagate differences amongst humans. The poet has subtly highlighted the corrupt nature of the people who donate because they are ultimately sowing seeds of religious conflict. 

The poet mentions the three different religions- Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism and says that their practitioners occasionally have a cordial relationship, but for the majority of the time, they are entangled in constant disputes. There are times when they have a change of temperament and practice peace, but they share a disputable relationship for the more significant part. Owing to that, insignificant arguments result in riots and assist in creating an atmosphere of hatred and disharmony.

The poet puts forward a picture of what happens post the riot. He says a day when we notice the clock tower after the riots end and observe that the clock tower was destroyed and is an eyeless entity. The ruined clock tower symbolizes the untrue and inappropriate preachings spread by incompetent preachers of religions. Through the remains of the clock tower, a zig-zag sky is visible that represents the distorted society and religions. The poet has conveyed that several preachers spread false teachings among the ordinary people, which results in intolerance and hatred among the people.

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The poet makes a comparison between the post-riot situation and a ‘peace-march time bomb.’ Several peace marches are conducted after riots to mourn the destructive riots. However, there is a chance of hatred that causes disputes among religions again. This spark can explode like a time bomb and cause feuds between the religious communities and ruin the peace initiative that was taken. The wrong preachings do not just create differences, and hatred causes destructive riots. 

The poet speaks of the power of nature, and it strategically creates an aura of massive thunderstorms where everything seems to get dark,k and one can witness lightning in the sky. The sight presented by nature symbolizes the riots that lead to the destruction of life and property.

Time and Again Analysis

The poet has presented a symbolic image of how religions operate. The religions are at the disposal of the preachers, who are, more often than not, preaching false ideas for their gains. This often leads to situations where riots occur, and there is general disorder and misery. He calls for the people to develop a rational understanding to differentiate between the honest stakeholders and the selfish ones.

Time and Again Theme

The primary theme of the poem is the condemnation of religious disputes. The poet has made an attempt to condemn religious conflicts through the poem and stop the propagation of hatred among religions and communities. The poet emphasizes the need to live peacefully and with brotherhood. The poet has beautifully promoted humanitarianism for the well-being and co-existence of the people. The poet believes that peace can be restored only if humanity is propagated. The poet has focused on the need to develop rational reasoning and to have the ability to identify the false practitioners to disregard their attempts of false propagations. 

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Time and Again Figures of Speech

A.K. Ramanujan is known to be one of the most gifted poets who rule the contemporary literature forefront. Throughout the poem, he has deployed several imageries, symbolism, and rhetorical devices that are not just immediately applicable to society but pertain to all times. He also managed to create vibrant images with his poem.