The clock struck three - The clock struck none
The clock struck a bit - The clock had some fun
Jack was trying to write a nursery rhyme -
Well, once upon a time, someone had to write all those nursery rhymes that we all heard on our mothers' laps when we were very small. Such things didn't just appear from nowhere.
Hickory dickory dock, the mouse run up the clock
Tom Tom the piper's son stole a pig and away did run
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, goo goo ga joo
Lucy Locket lost her pocket, Kitty Fisher found it
Jack's wife's maiden name happened to be Kitty Fisher. They lived in a dark forest in a dark part of time -- and his self-imposed job was to start many of the traditions that haunted us when we were children, otherwise our childhood would have been just the same as any old modern life with nothing worth cherishing from the past, nothing worth remembering in whatever future we had left.
For example, Jack invented the coins called threepenny bits so that they could be taken out of circulation in time for us to be nostalgic about them when we were older.
The clock struck three - the clock struck four
The clock was struck with love of Margery Daw
Hmm, this one wasn't working out very well; no potential of memorability or haunting nostalgia. It wasn't like 'Mary Mary Quite Contrary' or 'Old King Cole was a merry old soul'. They were living archetypes of childhood rhyming that underpinned girls' skipping and boys' tree climbing as well as our sleepless nights, those wastelands of dark time when we were all scared of ghosts. Ghosts went out of circulation, too, in our modern times today.
Jack had managed to conjure up ghosts and fairies and changelings as well as rhymes and threepenny bits in the dark forest of dark time when such things were easier to summon for later circulation. He imagined all sorts of potential nostalgia for our future, making our lives worth living by looking back at the things he imagined for us, and by imagining made them seem more real than real things themselves. Imagining some things we loved but can't love now because the things we loved are not around to be loved. It's better to have loved than never to have loved, even if we no longer have all of Jack's things to love.
Jack even imagined summoning up himself for us to remember as someone we once loved:
Little Jack Horner sat in the corner
Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick
Jack and Kitty went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
Hmm, something a bit wrong with the last bit.
The clock struck a threepenny bit
Lucy lost her diamonds
Girls made from sugar and spice
Boys from frogs and snails and beetles
Lucy in the skight forever
The clockadoodledoo struck three then choked
Good Morning, Good Morning
A day in the life, a day in the death
"Even nostalgia has to stop one day," whispered the ghost of Jack.