Ron’s Time Tunnel: What Time Is It?



Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn,

The sheep are in the meadow and the cows are in the corn;

Where is that boy who looks after the sheep?

Under the haystack; fast asleep.


As the “Comet” sped away across the blue-black sky, there came one in its wake; riding its bright streaming “tale” asking, “what time is it?” A true visionary, this one was the “Son of the Comet.” A voice crying out to us that “the alarm clock of life is ringing!” It’s time to wake up!  It’s time to go to work! We’re running late! No time to hit the snooze button and get a few more minutes of sleep.  It’s time to wake up! Let’s go to work!  Let’s work for a better, more compassionate and caring society. Let’s go to work for peace and unity. Let’s go to work for equality and justice. It’s time to go to work!  Time is winding up!”

My father (the Son of the Comet) wrote this poem dealing with the question:


Murder and rape have almost become common place.

Drugs and alcohol are no longer a disgrace.

It’s even hard to tell the women from the men

Popular names have replaced what used to be called “sin”.

Men and women laugh when they see you doing what’s right.

Please! Find my Watchman and seek from him-the hour of the night.

My, how time on eagle’s wings is fleeing;

Disaster on every hand we are meeting.

Day by day; pushing us closer to the grave;

But yet all the sins of Sodom we do dearly crave.

We need to turn back to God, and do what is right.

Watchman! Light the lamp and tell me; what is the hour of the night.

We live today as if time were our own.

Unaware of the fact that soon it’ll all be gone.

We think light of anyone who practices brother hood.

And, we just won’t do all of the things that we should.

War is still raging, and there’s no peace yet in sight.

Will someone shake my watchman and ask…What is the hour of the night?

Last night I dreamed of a city where man practiced brotherhood;

Where all men treated each other right, by doing that which is good;

Where peace, justice, and love like a river did flow.

And smiles, happiness and joy, on every face did show.

Alas, I awoke from my slumber to find there was still misery and strife.

So, I cried aloud to my Watchman and asked, what is the hour of the night?”

-Fletcher L. Brown (ca. 1974)


Next week Ron’s Time Tunnel:  “It Ain’t Slick a Damn”

36 thoughts on “Ron’s Time Tunnel: What Time Is It?

  1. I was planning to be quiet y’all but I decided after reading your comments and seeing my name mentioned that I should say my piece. I like the way you raise issues for debate Ron and it’s great the way you get everyone talking – sharing their perspectives. Thank you Btw for considering me inspiring. I guess I’m a natural leader. From childhood and through my life I’ve led something or other and have often surprised myself in what I’ve been able to accomplish. I’ve also had my fair share of burnout in the process. But when it came to my blog – I was looking for an escape from my day to day life because as you have all said, life is so full of problems that you don’t want to watch the news. Interestingly, reading through various blogs, I’ve picked up a whole set of other problems that make me feel grateful for so many things.

    Based on the poem you posted here, I could probably tick off everything on that list in terms of the terrible things you hear on the news everyday. I still listen to talk radio most of the time and our Community radio station makes sure that you know about all the bad things that are happening around you. However, they also throw things out daily for the community to help out with and it is amazing to find that there are so many people who do care, who are doing their bit to make the world a better place.

    So back to your point of Wake up – I guess I’m with Harold Melvin and the blue notes. I love my children, I care about what happens to me in my old age and I can’t stay asleep. We all are capable of making the world a better place and we shouldn’t give up just as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela and Ghandi did not give up. Ok say Lady G – you’re listening? this here’s my preacher role 😀 So if you see me sticking to the love and romance on my blog, it is my escape and I hope it gives good cheer to all of us concerned with matters of the heart but I know that I still have work to do never mind how big or small, the contribution is. I am still one of 5 million people in my country on whom the rest of our 45 million people depend on through our taxes, So Ron if you don’t mind, I say it best with Music- Here you go:

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you decided to chime in Chevvy, your comments and opinions always add so much value to any discussion! I’ve never thought about the similarities of the message conveyed by “Son of Comet” and the BlueNotes` song “Wake Up”, Thanks for the link! Obviously the message was relevant and needed then, just as it is now! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Ron, I’m happy to make a contribution and you all do likewise. It’s amazing how small this world can feel when we see commonalities and realise that sometimes our boundaries are artificial. In the end we’re one human race faced with universal challenges. Have a great day!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Of course I’m ‘listening.’
      Two of my favorite teachers ( you and Ron) are having a wonderful and important dialogue. I wouldn’t dare miss out on anything that you two have to say 🙂
      I’m just loving it!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hey, that’s the idea, join in and have some fun. During our protest years, we had a slogan called “Each one teach one” so that’s what it’s about. We are so much richer from this kind of communication 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’d say the apple didn’t fall far from that tree at all. I’d argue (from what I’ve seen or your orating and literary skills) that God has graced us with the second coming of the original.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Gee. This one’s from the REAL Professor, my pops. He was a graduate of Stillman College in Alabama in 1955. He taught high school History, Government, Civics, etc. and was a masterful orator. He was very much in demand, as a speaker, during his heyday. I’m Okay at putting stuff down “on paper” but I’m a million miles away from being able to do what the “Professor” did. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow I was 12 when that poem was written, growing up on the Southside of Chicago. My kids say we are advancing in science and technology but we as a human race are devolving, becoming less civilized because of it. I tend to agree with them. I have found the only way I can deal with what is going on in the world is to hide from the news, the Internet and the onslaught of information. I know it’s not a very grown up way to do it, but it keeps me happy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re talking to your sister honey! I avoid the news like the plague! My dad says that I am going to miss something important like some kind of warning. I told him that I’d rather be caught off-guard and die a happy death! LOL!!

      Liked by 3 people

        1. You’re right Professor. We used to test this and found it to be true (we were trying to be funny) Me and some friends would be like walking through a park or public place and just suddenly go “Oh S**t and start running – anyone within earshot or eyesight would take off running with us. I know – I’m crazy . They’d go “Why y’all running?” “We don’t know”.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. G……
          Y’all ain’t had nuthin else betta to do huh?
          But really that’s actually funny Brah! I woulda been one of them fools who was running right behind y’all 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        3. Jo Jo got a gun!!! Erybody get low!!!!
          Sadly I actually heard those words one night at my cousin’s club in LA (Lower Alabama!)
          Baby, we GOT LOW!!!!
          Jo Jo was about to get it poppin’ up in that piece!

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Chevvy`s so inspiring!

          Shots were fired. It sounded like the 4th of July but it was winter. Of course, as you can imagine, everyone tried to exit that one door at once. Some folks got trampled.

          I bolted for the door. I have a cryptic memory of legs and feet; then suddenly hot air turned wintry cold. As I gasped, my aching lungs filled with the icy air. At that point, I realized two things; I was outside and that, before exiting, I must have been holding my breath!

          I remember the wind in my eyes causing an unchecked flow of tears to stream from my squinted eyes, into cool rivlets along my cheeks. It was then that I realized that I WAS the wind. Usain Bolt had nothing on me!

          It took me exactly 9.9 seconds to travel the 3 blocks to my house!

          Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back. Eight lives and counting.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. Geez! I was in kindergarten when your dad wrote that poem and a lot of it is still as relevant today as it was back then.

    Ron, I get sooooo tired of saying that about old observations. I mean it seems that we only make progress in areas like science and technology and such.

    But what about progress in the things that really matter? You know peace, brotherhood, generosity and above all LOVE!

    I really just do not get it!
    Either way, I can see why you have such a talent for writing– you inherited it from both sides!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Heyyyy Cuz! I like the way you linked this entry to the “Comet’s Tale”. That was slick! I love it. Thanks.

      You are so right Cuz, I first remember my father reading this poem at the end of a speech he gave at a church event. The speech was entitled “What Time is It? I’ve since read this poem over and over again throughout the years and I’ve made the same observation as you; not much has changed, and that’s bad! Sometimes we even seem to be moving backwards.

      MLK said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that!”

      It seems so simple doesn’t it?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Glad you liked it. It seemed so apropo since you are linking your father as the one who came after ‘the comet.’

        BTW, moving backwards is the best summation of our current state.
        But with that said, I think that you are doing an excellent job, here, by bringing awareness along with the ONLY solution which was wonderfully articulated by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

        Excellent post Ron! You always got something good for da peoples!!

        Liked by 1 person

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