The Clock and the Scales Poetry Competition 2017

Notable Works coverA compilation of poems submitted by staff and students of the Saïd Business School to the Sainsbury Library

In March this year, the Sainsbury acquired two extraordinary items intended to add an aesthetic element to the library’s lower floor; a 1920’s German brass and glass anniversary clock traditionally given as a wedding present, using a Perivale movement such that required the clock to be rewound only once each year, and an extremely sensitive set of 19th century mahogany and silver apothecary scales of the type that continued in use until the late 1960’s, used to measure out powders in drachms or drams, each of 1/80th of a fluid ounce.

The clock and the scales were purchased individually, by chance, at an antique fair. Each is of modest antiquarian value, but each is visually exquisite. Their pairing was providential rather than intentional, but anyone looking at them is likely to think that, on visuals alone, they were preordained to be paired up and co-located just as they are, where they are.

And where they are is in a library of a high-octane business school feted for an intense one year programme o ered at an institution that has evolved its educational credentials over a period stretching back to roughly the year 1096 – and right there, because this is Oxford, the cerebral somersault doesn’t feel at all at odds with normality. But let the eye linger a moment longer and you might feel the rest of the very stuff of life, like luscious fog, start to ooze quietly but unequivocally from the objects to the mind’s eye: time – the here and now, eeting and in nite, slow-paced or frenetic, temporal and visceral, inexorably powering while goading life, weighty or inconsequential, balanced or out of whack, but co-incidentally and variously full of drama, anticipated or explosive, life changing or life-afirming, while incredulous or perhaps overwhelming in its banality. In the presence of two such small objects, the endless juxtapositions leap ahead of one’s mental grasp.

No wonder then that from such small compact items should be born The 2017 Sainsbury Library’s The Clock and the Scales Poetry Competition, and this compilation of submitted entries. The entries have all been of an extraordinarily high standard, and we can only be immensely grateful for having within our community such an array of talented people with the wherewithal to see and feel the “viewless wings of Poesy”, and the ability to evocatively translate their vision of the meaning and value of such objects for us, their appreciative readers. We hope you enjoy this compilation and invite you to view the clock and the scales and let your own thoughts wander where they may.

Chris Flegg
Bodleian Business Librarian

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