Further Technological Gremlins

First it was the blocks system. Have we told you about the blocks system? No? Well the WordPress Blogger now forces you to type everything in blocks that need to be re-added whenever you want a new paragraph. Or something. We haven’t cracked this one mostly by dint of bullying our unsuspecting blog into reverting to whatever was there before.

Then the option to align anything went off of the app for mobile. Which is broadly negligible until we wanted to align the poems for ease of reading. So off we relocated to the website. Only the website can’t align images, so back we went to the app. Now we entertain the Marschallin Cat endlessly by pingponging between the two while she waltzes around the keyboard. And anything we do manage to align centre refuses to appear for reference in the app. And the app would make it easier, they said! They lied, say we. They lied.

And all of this has nothing – absolutely nothing! – on the Becket-worthy sketch dubbed Waiting for Zoom that was our morning. But we digress…

In-between technological wrangles we stop for cups of tea. Today’s were both lovely. Probably the cosmos is compensating us for the mulishness of technology. DavidsTea issued an Organic Silk Dragon Jasmine, which is the kind of expensive tea we would never normally buy. It’s got big leaves, and is deeply aromatic. It steeps quickly, and goes bitter even faster if you aren’t careful. We were careful and got a beautiful, golden, floral tea for our trouble.

The other selection was a Summer Darjeeling. We liked this one so much we made multiple pots. It also goes strong quickly, but after missing the caffeine of a black tea midway through yesterday that was nothing to grouse about. It was just what we needed after the midmorning Zoom debacle.

And after all that, here’s a poem for you by Ted Hughes, who knows what it is to want to slaughter technology.

Do Not Pick Up The Telephone
Ted Hughes

That plastic Buddha jars out a Karate screech

Before the soft words with their spores
The cosmetic breath of the gravestone

Death invented the phone it looks like the altar of death
Do not worship the telephone
It drags its worshippers into actual graves
With a variety of devices, through a variety of disguised voices

Sit godless when you hear the religious wail of the telephone

Do not think your house is a hide-out it is a telephone
Do not think you walk your own road, you walk down a telephone
Do not think you sleep in the hand of God you sleep in the mouthpiece of a telephone
Do not think your future is yours it waits upon a telephone
Do not think your thoughts are your own thoughts they are the toys of the telephone
Do not think these days are days they are the sacrificial priests of the telephone

The secret police of the telephone

0 phone get out of my house
You are a bad god
Go and whisper on some other pillow
Do not lift your snake head in my house
Do not bite any more beautiful people

You plastic crab
Why is your oracle always the same in the end?
What rake off for you from the cemeteries?

Your silences are as bad
When you are needed, dumb with the malice of the clairvoyant insane
The stars whisper together in your breathing
World’s emptiness oceans in your mouthpiece
Stupidly your string dangles into the abysses
Plastic you are then stone a broken box of letters
And you cannot utter
Lies or truth, only the evil one
Makes you tremble with sudden appetite to see somebody undone

Blackening electrical connections
To where death bleaches its crystals
You swell and you writhe
You open your Buddha gape
You screech at the root of the house

Do not pick up the detonator of the telephone
A flame from the last day will come lashing out of the telephone
A dead body will fall out of the telephone

Do not pick up the telephone


Bizarrely, even though this was a staple of the Poetry and Cake Society, and we took it in turns to do dramatic readings, the same is not true of the internet. Indeed, a previous Tea and Poetry Advent series by us is the first search to crop up in our browser. Next to The Moon and Little Freida this is our favourite Hughes. Even though we know it’s probably more about how the telephone used to ring to let you know when a telegram had come announcing the death of loved ones (or that was always our read) something about it resonates with us and our everlasting battle with technology. Just us? Thoughts as ever welcome!

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