POEMS ABOUT TIME AND TECHNOLOGY
I have become fascinated by the whole matter of time. How we measure it, how it controls us and the story of the Bellvilles, who made a living out of selling time round London at the turn of the 20th Century.
I know there are good things from technology in health and support of the disabled, in looking after us and providing energy and the like, But why do I waste such a large part of my life watching little circles go round and round and round?
HOW DO WE STOP A TRAIN?
No one we knew had ever stopped a train.
Beeching had done away with request stops
But the cow was oblivious of rail-side etiquette
And walked on the strange wooden steps.
Now we must decide, get involved or not?
Carry on walking, or run madly up the track
But – but which way is up the track and,
Which way is down, and when is the next train?
Decisions decisions, which station is the nearest?
Oh, who knows the hand signals for a railway,
Who can fumble fastest for the rucksack map
Or communicate with the train coming - which way?
Would she be noticeable to the driver?
Should he wear bright colours to be seen?
Should both arms be waved madly over head,
Or a steady right arm outstretched abeam?
Oh shut up and use your smartphone!
Jacb Aug 19 Dec 20
FOR and AGAINST
The Invention of the Geek
Thank you Bill Gates
The greatest thing on earth that I have ever seen
Is the automatic pop-up spell checker
Not weird Harry Potterian spells with potions
But lifesaving Bill Gatesian suggestions.
No caning at my school for poor work.
Bill checked it first suggesting a tweek.
No more getting drawn off to the side,
By lexicon of words that intrigue.
The accuracy and colour and design
Allow for very clear communication
The printer does it all without a ruler
Is it me or am I doing as I’m told?
AGAINST and FOR
The Invention of the Devil
whoever you are
Oh good an hour to myself; to compose my thoughts
To edit my report, or to write to my friends
To do some research or design my document
To get ideas in line and clarify my brain.
But first answer all your old emails.
Bring both you bank accounts up to date.
See what’s on your latest to-do list.
Check your calendar for the next month.
Have you done your last back up?
Are you fully up to date?
Is your protection on now?
Check all of these instantly!
You have been upgraded automatically,
Reinstall your extensions, not working ones.
This page not available, check your broadband.
Now try loading this page all over again.
If you cannot make this new programme work for you,
Register with our friendly young technical group.
They won’t understand your particular problem,
But suggest more than one arcane alternative.
Check now, have you been pwnd?
Change all your old passwords.
Do it now not later!
Or you may be at risk!
Watch the small spots go in - out and round - round.
Watch square coloured blocks go left - right - left - right
Watch the pink hourglass go down - up – down - up
Do not move! sit right there! stare at the screen!
Now what the hell was it I wanted to do?
Why is it that there isn’t time to do it?
Should I hit it very hard with the hand axe?
Go get coffee I should have had one an hour ago!
THE TYRANNY OF TIME - WHERE HAVE WE LOST TIME?
We have messed about with time for a long time.
The church having more than one service a day
On a Sunday they needed to know the hour.
Factory owners needed to pay the least
So added to the church clock the minute hand.
The scientists all worked with the second
Added to wrist watches “’cos we could”.
Then it began to take over our lives.
It became more important in conflict,
‘Cos’ were needed there at an exact time.
Currently the milli second is not a daily driver,
Nor the microsecond, though needed for nuclear power.
But it is used as our clocks get more and more accurate.
As we look out into space and calculate the distance
What have we done to ourselves? Done to our communal lives?
Our lives are shorter, though we live longer.
Perhaps we should look round us and slowdown.
The seasons were once good enough for us,
When we all needed to grow our own food.
Autumn is here, six months since Spring planting.
But look slowly round us, see what is there,
Trees are not fixed, wooden, sullen growths,
That stop and fix when they are mature.
Botanist tell us from their research
Trees communicate, help each other,
They pass many good things from root to root.
Aid each other in family support,
They might even have a family chat.
Their communication is too slow for us
Who rush past without being aware.
Roots all grow more slowly than needs a clock.
No worries about the passing of time
That is any faster than a season.
Perhaps it is theirs that is the real time
And ours a final mad rush to the end.
jacb May 2020
Apparently prehistoric hunter gatherers only 'worked' for about two or three hours a day. This was all that was necessary to feed clothe and shelter and make the necessary tools. And then? Chat, sing, dance, cook, drink, laugh???
Why do we spend 1/3rd of our lives asleep?
Setting the alarm and getting up early
Is better than sleeping on till you wake
Getting up early, dragging your mind into use
There isn’t enough time to worry about life
The energy is in getting life to work
Getting up late, springing (well theoretically) out of bed
Bouncing round to the kitchen
Breakfast is on autopilot
And the why’s, when’s, what’s, who’s come fast
And freely, disturbing equanimity.
jacb Sep 2020
What are you waiting for?
Today’s weather to improve,
My friends to arrive for tea,
The food to finish cooking,
The virus to come for me.
You to change your scrambled mind,
The new TV film to start,
The queue to reach the till,
Me to make time for my art,
For it to be my turn next,
The bus to fill with its clear isles,
The bright sun to come out,
And to see people with smiles.
The WiFi speed to come back,
The Google circle to stop,
Microsoft to finish the update,
The printer to set itself up.
The ferry to arrive at the pier head,
When I have had a short afternoon snooze,
The Government to make a good decision,
The arrival of my lost poet’s muse.
To get my mask off so I breathe,
My glasses to clear of the steam,
The arrival of my premium bond winnings,
The outcome of my dozing dream.
The alarm clock to go off,
Hot water get to the shower,
The kettle to come to a boil,
And time to pass at a meander.
jacb Oct 2020
HAND SIGNS THAT HAVE MOVED ON
What on earth is he signing now?
Is it rude or showing me how?
The signing of the restaurant bill
Writing on the palm of the hand
No one uses a pen now
And it doesn’t look very grand
The finger and thumb to ear and mouth
Show a phone that needs answering now.
It’s a long time since a landline phone
A phone is a small shallow box now.
For the family game, Charades
Winding of the cinecamera
Stopped in about Nineteen Thirty
Just tap the tablet’s camera.
A book printed on paper and card
Is not opened resting on your palms
A book is now locked in the tablet
Or waited for as it downloads.
The crank handle for the car window
Won’t let you speak to the occupants
There is a button on the door
To make it open on its own.
Tapping your wrist to show time is up
Only works if you have a wristwatch.
Tapping the palm of your hand for time
Is to say the least so confusing
The handshake showed I have no weapon to harm
The touching glasses with the host shows no poison
The carefully putting or lifting the gramophone arm
Some have survived even if meaning is lost.
Jacb Oct 2020