Oh hail the master puppeteer,
Controller of the strings.
The altruistic engineer,
Sagaciousness he brings.
With breathtaking dexterity,
He moves us all about.
From rich and famed celebrity,
To every down-and-out.

When he feels the time is right
He drives our limbs to action.
Manipulating day and night
Gives him much satisfaction.
And having no mind of our own,
We let him have his way.
As twice a year by strings alone,
He shifts the time of day.

Forward-back, year after year
Is clearly idiotic.
Yet why we do is still unclear,
We all appear robotic.
Our puppeteer is way off-track,
He makes life complicated.
Our inner clocks all out of whack,
All discombobulated.

Oh why this foolish pantomime?
What purpose this decree?
What use this faulty paradigm?
What help to you and me?
Our puppeteer has lost his charms,
We’re dangling just by threads.
Our little wooden legs and arms,
Our little wooden heads!



Norma Pain was born in Liverpool, England and now lives in Parksville, British Columbia, Canada. Thirty of Norma’s poems were published by Dana Literary Society, between 2004 and 2007 and she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize by that same on-line poetry site. She self-published a book of rhyme in 2000 called Bulging Assets.

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21 Responses

  1. Tonia Kalouria

    Absolutely love this — both Medium and Message!
    My fave lines refer to one’s inner clock being discombobulated.
    (The “d” word not the easiest to rhyme, either!)
    Will make sure my friends read this on Monday:-)

    • C.B. Anderson

      What’s actually being rhymed here is -CATed/-LATed, a two-syllable rhyme in other words. And yes, the poem is very well constructed, with lots of detail pertaining to the central theme.

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    This is beautifully constructed, and a sheer delight to read. The central metaphor (that citizens are mindless puppets who allow themselves to be tyrannized) is ominously relevant today.

    I love the photograph of the puppet family. But if this poem were to be illustrated in a book, it seems to call out for one of those savagely satirical caricature-cartoons of James Gillray, whose political illustrations were so biting that even the Royal Family feared him.

  3. Sally Cook

    Dear Norma –
    Excellent poem, and I certainly hope to see more of your work. I believe Daylight Savings was originally begun to give workers extra time at the end of the day, either for overtime, household tasks, or personal business.
    It has been tried for centuries, but never seems to do much except for the workers who could not have performed certain tasks without it.
    I’ve always thought it just one more encumbrance to be endured — similar to a mask — that someone somewhere thought would help something. I fear we are going to get a lot more of that! The puppets are both welcome and necessary in such a poem.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Sally, for the information on the reasons for the clock changes, and your positive comments on my poem.

  4. Sally Cook

    This is a graceful poem, well executed and full of meaning.
    Daylight saving time has been tried many times over the centuries, and yet no one cared one way or the other beyond some authority who seemed to think it would be more efficient and produce more work time.
    The puppets are a fine addition to the story. Hope to see more of your work.

    • C.B. Anderson

      As it happens, Sally, Arizona might be the only state that does not observe Daylight Savings Time. The reason for that is that in the torrid desert climate there people want the day to be over as soon as possible. I will say, for myself, that I love the 9:00 pm sunsets in the weeks surrounding the summer solstice — this gives me lots of time after work to sit on my patio enjoying libations and what’s going on in my garden. Once, when I was much younger I was dropped off at church an hour too early because my parents had forgotten to turn back the clocks (it must have been in the fall). I got to spend some time with Father Mills stuffing coins into coin wrappers. It wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, but it was different from the normal routine.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Maybe you need to get outside more. Life is short, and so, sometimes, are our individual allotted days. The only reason Daylight Savings isn’t observed throughout the year is that people don’t want to drive to work in the dark during the winter months.

      • David Paul Behrens

        What you are saying makes sense. I always worked twelve hour shifts, noon to midnight, before I retired, so it didn’t make any difference to me.

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Norma, this is an admirably crafted poem that highlights the pitfalls of having one’s strings pulled by a puppeteer. Such control starts with little, seemingly insignificant moves that pull our strings to embrace bigger, more insidious “ideals” (always in our best interest, of course), until all the trusting marionettes trade strings for chains and every last shred of freedom is stolen. Very well done, indeed! Also, thank you for reminding me to spring forward timewise tonight… I will admit to feeling a tad rebellious in wanting to leave my clock exactly where it stands!

    • C.B. Anderson

      Susan, you’ve gotten to the heart of the matter. The poem isn’t about the measurement of time (which is arbitrary), but about social control. The nature of time is still a philosophical question, because nobody really knows what the hell it is; all we know is that it’s arrow always points in one direction: toward the future and increasing entropy.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your comments Susan. I have tried the rebellious route by not changing my clocks, but only succeeded in getting totally confused, which could of course have more to do with “my” aging clock!!

  6. Paul Freeman

    A well constructed poem with an interesting metaphor running through it.

    Daylight Saving Time dates from the First World War. It was an energy saving measure, since the majority of the British population would then be awake during all the daylight hours of winter so not as much fuel would be used for lighting. Daylight saving becomes more beneficial the further you live from the equator, which is probably why Arizona has never used the concept. The argument for it these days is probably from a mental health standpoint.

  7. Norma Okun

    I appreciate the poem but I know for myself I like where my feet are in spite of the fact I would like to be elsewhere. There are no strings unless you see them. If you do then you have the choice.

  8. Yael

    Norma I feel your pain. I don’t like DST either, but I really enjoy your poem. I liked the rhythm of it so I put a few guitar chords to it and sang it while the time was changing. Some clocks change themselves while others are still awaiting my input. I can take my own sweet time while I’m jamming out to your poem. Thanks!

  9. Norma Pain

    Thank you so much Yael, for putting my words to your guitar music. I loved it and really appreciate the compliment.
    I will be letting my children and grandchildren watch this video.
    Thanks again.


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