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This article is taken from PN Review 260, Volume 47 Number 6, July - August 2021.

A Week in Gdańsk Sinéad Morrissey
Inside St Mary’s Church in Gdańsk stands a Clock of Everything. At fourteen metres, it was the tallest clock ever built when Hans Düringer completed it in 1470, and it remains the largest wooden astronomical clock in the world. So beautiful its creator was allegedly blinded upon finishing it, the clock is the first thing that greets you as you enter the basilica by the north transept, its dark medieval wood highlighted by the white walls. Composed of three discreet but interlocking sections, like the Trinity, it functions as an at-a-glance answer machine, the Google of the fifteenth century. Of course it tells you the minute and the hour. But if you want to know the phase of the moon, or the relation of the moon to Taurus, or the relation of the sun to Capricorn, or the relation of the sun and moon to each other, it will tell you that too. And at noon each day, beneath the forked tree of our Fall, like hatches to the realm of metaphor, tiny doors open and out wheel the three Kings followed by the four Evangelists followed by the twelve Apostles followed by Death brandishing a scythe – an order which undermines the hopeful face of Mary with her baby enshrined at the clock’s base as, Christ notwithstanding, Death’s caper reminds us, Time does for us in the end.

It’s the last week of August 2020. In a late-summer window of grace from the ravages of Covid-19, I’ve travelled here to accept ...


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