Thursday, 27 August 2015

Flashes of technology


Wireless really explained spurned wavelength dials
in 1923. The rich enthusiast
might want that sort of thing, but you could find
kit in the streets, in costermongers' barrows,
to listen in to the far ends of earth.
A new earth, this, a-twitter with the dawn.
Pyrite was crystal in the radio,
fool's gold, but later, lapsed from top, still up
for faked non-listening near armies. Foxholes,
skill, home-madeness, light tread, a time before –
the cloud of crystal radio's folklore.

Monty Python spoofed stencil duplicates
in 1973. The bigot issue
1 (3), March-November, offered visits
by the Young Bigots' Club to throw appliances
from Grundig down the lavatory. Soaking!
But real life's setting up of anything
used these to print. My nights of radio
(that's DX listening, not ham transmission)
made it to street by them, with other scribbles;
Adrian Mole's life mirrored. Stencils mean
schools, parents, churches, clubs, drums, wheels. And see
the power turn at least one PhD.

Not sure I've watched satellite television.
Has someone spurned or spoofed the dishes? Up
for decades, but I've missed their cloud, their mirrors.
They're still of now, not of the life on Mars
they will become when turned to past like crystals
etcetera cited above, things viewed
in photographs made by a long-dead light,
through years stacked to intolerable height.

This was my entry in the CV2 48-hour competition 2015.  If you've read much from Blurtmetry, you'll know what that's all about: my 'Radio poem' and 'Instead of a minute', both of them written for that competition in earlier years, are neighbouring posts in this blog.  The main constraints of the competition are as follows.  Firstly, entries should be written from scratch in the space of 48 hours -- a weekend midnight to midnight, Central Canadian time, 06:00 Saturday to 06:00 Monday UK time.  Secondly, the poem composed during that time must include all ten of a group of words emailed to registered entrants at the start of that period.  In 2015 the words were: satellite, ham, soaking, lapsed, stencil, mirrored, before, pyrite, faked, and appliances.

To me, having looked up pyrite and discovered its connection with crystal radio, there seemed no alternative to a poem about modes of communication: crystal radio, stencil duplicating, and satellite television.  But if you followed my link to the 2015 competition results and winners, you'll see that others did not feel that inevitability.

Wireless really explained, by P.J. Risdon (Foulsham, 1923), was for some reason in the house (perhaps from Dad's predecessor as Vicar) when I was a boy in the 1960s.  I probably don't need to explain any of the other allusions.

In August 2015, the site PoemPigeon launched a competition for entries including the word satellite, and 'Flashes of technology' was published by virtue of being posted there.  From a brief survey of my fellow-entrants' work, I get the impression that I am the first to think of the wheeze of re-using a CV2 48-hour entry for this purpose.