and post notes and photos about your poem like Bill Keen.
The persona is speaking to a part of herself or himself as Eliot does in "Prufrock."
You probably know to pay as much attention to the grammatical rhythm (syntax) as to the meter.
What does it take to shut down the dialers
who feed on our ears and our patience?
O What does it take?
How can we shut down the pleas for support,
the electric voices that bother our phones
just as we sit down for dinner?
What does it take?
Why say there’s no hope?
The dialers, you say, are that damn clever,
their noise sounding real, almost engaging?
True, we have lingered too long
imagining flesh and blood we might invite
to the movies or for walks through the town
when the rain has stopped and the sidewalks
call, "Come out;
you’re alive, walk about."
Why don’t the dialers care how we felt
when we strolled for an hour or more and no one said, “Sorry,
I’ve got to take this one and this one”?
Remember, just after the war?
No, not that one; the one before.
"Listeners breed dialers," you say?
What tilted the world that way?
Don’t you remember the time no sister
or brother dared answer a phone or
stand up, leave the table,
after grace had been asked, the pot roast passed,
when none, with back turned to the parents,
talked to the wall about buying or selling
or fattening profits or what
went to hell, or who screwed it up?
Yes, some of the dialers are real, are alive,
full of blood and worries, troubles
with children, incipient cancers.
I get it, but what if they hurt farther
than abstract concern can reach out to
and what would it take to make dialers
imagine their objects are human,
that we, too, are fathers with feelings?
Not even if one would ask, “Dialers, please,
stop for a minute” or “Do take a rest?”
The sun will set to the west
of the river and might rise in the morning
long enough for one or another to wake
in the new light and to one other declare,
“As the day and the night may serve us,
we will love one another; don’t despair.”
Isn’t it worthwhile to slow down the flight,
on wireless wings, of nattering words
that fuel pundits and bigots,
steal songs from birds,
or even implore us to serve a just cause?
What if one dialer felt need for restraint,
threw the program away,
and refused to keep all other thought at bay?
O God (listening?) speak with a small voice
to all of us, to all saints and sinners;
whisper hope to all the down-trodden; instill fear
in all the down-treaders; discipline all as we lie;
thrust back all pointing fingers;
grant one grain of sand to each ear;
exhaust the desert,
even to bring forth but one single pearl!
Can’t you imagine, only one moment left, and none hoarding or selling it for souls?
If not, breathe your last breath
and lie down in the dark
where the dialers and dealers
are lacking your number
and none can encumber
the peace passing our kenning
by word, by sound, and by penning.
Copyright © Bill Keen | Year Posted 2019