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by Souchong 

Posted: 07 November 2006
Word Count: 89

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it’s the little things

like being able to work out
how to change the lead in a propelling pencil
finding out you can charge your mobile
while it’s still switched on, after all these years

reading that in my lifetime I will drink
around 75,000 cups of tea
and spend 129 days ironing
that using a saucepan lid increases efficiency by up to 90%
hearing, anecdotally, that it can take up to 8 minutes to die in the electric chair,

that one third of the world has no electricity

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Comments by other Members

Jordan789 at 03:06 on 09 November 2006  Report this post
Interesting little bit that could probably extend for a while. I like how the little tidbits of information start out so trivial and then zero in on some serious issues. Death and life without electricity. I think 120 days at the iron seems high, unless you happen to be a nanny. And the same goes for 75K cups of tea, but i guess you're probably british.

What's with the aversion to punctuation?

joanie at 09:44 on 09 November 2006  Report this post
Hi Souchong. I have to say that I like the lack of punctuation here.

I enjoyed the opening line, standing alone, then I smiled a wry smile as I read on! It's amazing what you discover, isn't it?

As the first and last lines are separate, one can't help reading them together, without the rest of the poem, which speaks volumes, I think. (Also taking the title into consideration)



James Graham at 12:49 on 09 November 2006  Report this post
I agree there should be minimum punctuation in this - especially none at the end, not even a row of dots... Absence of punctuation helps keep the poem open-ended. Grammatically it’s an unfinished sentence, inviting the reader to add something like ‘two million people die each year because they don’t have access to safe water’, etc etc.

It's a good idea for a poem. It’s a list poem with a twist at the end. It combines trivia that really are trivia with ‘trivia’ that really matter. It’s a list of facts about the world we live in – we make tea, we iron our clothes, we kill people in electric chairs. The last two ‘trivia’ – even the third last, about saving energy – are obviously different. Apart from anything else, we can argue about ordinary trivia just on the factual level – ‘129 days spent ironing? Can’t be as many as that’ – but then to say, ‘8 minutes to die in the electric chair? Can’t be as long as that’, or ‘I bet there have been cases where it took longer’… that won’t do at all.

It’s an idea that could be experimented with, by writing similar poems but with different trivia and different serious ‘trivia’ at the end.

I don’t know if you intended this, but everything in the list, except propelling pencils, has something to do with electricity. It’s quite a nice ‘thread’ to tie up the poem. If you replaced propelling pencils with an electrical gadget it would be perfect!


Souchong at 23:12 on 10 November 2006  Report this post
thanks jordan, joanie and james (all beginning with j lol)

appreciated the comments very much.

the rawness and naivete of the poem are deliberate. it is meant to trail away. i hadnt made the electricity connection, (pardon the pun). i may well change the opener to something electrical - though i was concerned to avoid the obvious stuff like programming the video etc.

most of the statistics are taken from a climate control book.
as evan esar says: "Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions."
personally i think i have already drunk more than my allotted share of tea and done less than my share of the ironing. as you say, james, the other stats are different.

thanks for taking the time to comment, j, j & j.

best wishes

Zettel at 16:08 on 11 November 2006  Report this post

i too enjoyed the ironic punchlines

picking up on james point you might perhaps think of an irony within an irony like..

finding out the little red light
on the tv
can be switched off.

but i am sure you could find a better example.



Souchong at 21:57 on 12 November 2006  Report this post
thank u, zettel. :)

nice idea.

i think my brain is switched off, as it is not coming up with the goods at the mo. i think something will emerge... progs are probably running in the background on standby .. in the meantime i will leave it in a drawer, so to speak ..


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