The Timeless Hour

David Evans, South Australia and Northern Territory Regional Meeting


The Timeless Hour

Let action go; and with it all the thought
Of action. Even when the world is racked
It may be worthier to refrain from action
Than it is to act.


Forget the world one hour; when you return
Its beauty will be there, its tragedy;
And though the past and future shake their chains,
The now is free.


Think yourself out of thinking; exorcise
Even that ghost of thought, the echoing word
Till in the haunted chamber of the brain
No sound is heard.


Then when its windows open on a world
Beyond the world, when all its walls are dumb,
Into the silent room, the wordless mind,
The Word may come.


Clive Sansom. 1957

You can read Clive Sansom’s[1] poem on p76 of This We Can Say


In my early Quaker days at the Hobart Meeting House I listened enwrapped by Clive Sansom’s Ministry – deep religious thought expressed simply like his writings for children. Quietly spoken and unassuming, he always left me wondering and longing for more.

Sometime later The Timeless Hour was read in Meeting. Joan Roberts went over to the piano and played a verse of the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. There followed a deep silence in the meeting that I treasure as a memory, and as an awareness of spiritual life. In my 50 years or so with Quakers, these moments of deep silence, when “The Word may come”, are like a personal collection of jewelry, treasured forever.

Moments of Deep Silence also happen with inspirational music in concert or recital when you could hear a pin drop.  One I remember especially was in an orchestral concert in Hobart conducted by Stuart Challender[2] in 1991. It was his last concert, as Challender had developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and died soon after.

Clive’s timelessness, and moments of inspiration reassure me that the greater world is alive, all around me and you. We ask the same philosophical questions when we are old, as we did when we were young, eg., what is goodness?  The title for the current Storytelling Guild Meeting[3] at this time of writing is ‘Thank Goodness…” The invitation is there to present a short talk about goodness. Let’s go for it.

The ocean of light is alive and well.


[1] Clive Henry Sansom – Australian Dictionary of Biography

[2]Stuart Challender:  Australian Dictionary of Biography


The Storytelling Guild of Australia has branches in each state and is part of a global network of storytellers. In South Australia we have monthly meetings, a newsletter ‘The Pied Piper’, and special events. People come along, members and visitors, and generally make a presentation of five to ten minutes related to the theme of the meeting.


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1 Comment

  1. Malcolm Whyte

    Some Haikus relating to The Timeless Hour:

    Into the silence
    bird song, and reflected light
    from a fallen leaf.

    Through silence
    I’m inspired, enthused,

    He said but one word.
    It resonated deeply


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