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by nickb 

Posted: 30 June 2011
Word Count: 124
Summary: I can only apologise profusely to John Masefield......

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Kilobits, megabits, multiplexing packet switch,
illuminating fibre from here to South West 9,
with a cargo of spreadsheets,
word docs and PDFs,
IMs, SMS in a FIFO pipeline.

Gently flashing modems, routers and home hubs,
delivered over GPON that everyone adores,
with a cargo of love bytes,
e-bay, paypal,
holidays to the topics by palm-green shores

On line browsing and gaming through the Ethernet,
flicking TV channels cursing latency delays,
with a cargo of shoot ‘em ups,
quiz shows, adverts,
come and spend your money in a hundred different ways.

32 way splitters and spectacular photonics,
a hair width of glass means the pipe is getting bigger,
for cargoes of peacocks,
emeralds, pig lead,
I’m having some of that, next year I’m going Giga.

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 12:23 on 03 July 2011  Report this post
More a compliment to Masefield, I’d say. Full of nice touches - group members, don’t miss the fact that the rhymes in this poem rhyme with Masefield’s rhymes. References to the original are nicely worked in - peacocks, emeralds and pig-lead, which are now in the form of images, I suppose, coming through the even bigger ‘pipe’.

These things set up a continuity between your poem and Masefield’s. Once we see that, we start to see the contrasts. The original cargoes are picturesque and their very names seem inherently ‘poetic’ (‘Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores’), but cyber-cargoes are technical, full of abbreviations and acronyms - they're ‘prosaic’. There’s computer language that must be meaningless to most computer users; every time I shut down my computer a box appears: ‘Ending program SvcHsT’. (???) I know that GPON stands for gigabit-capable passive optical network - because I googled it - but it’s still gobbledegook. Two very different languages. This clever poem makes us think about computer language - how strange some of it is, how artificial it seems, how out of place in poetry...or is it?


nickb at 11:06 on 06 July 2011  Report this post
Many thanks for the feedback James. I felt I was taking a bit of a liberty and that some of the language would be incomprehensible unless you're in the industry. Good to know it works at some level at least.



James Graham at 19:35 on 07 July 2011  Report this post
I don't think it matters too much that every reader understands every computer term in the poem. In places it almost has the quality of a nonsense poem, like Lewis Carroll's 'all mimsy were the borogoves' etc., though I don't know if you'd be happy with the comparison. It does work on one level, in the impression it gives of the torrent of new and often very strange (to some anyway) language that accompanies the computer age. Putting it in the very pre-cyber Masefield context highlights its strangeness.


V`yonne at 18:14 on 27 July 2011  Report this post
I think that's great and I think Masefield would be happy!

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