Reflections/poem biography for Wired Flesh

wired flesh smaller

“I pick up my machine, black weight
of electronics, and slot myself in.
Electricity ticks unheard, sparks ignite.”

I am wary of nostalgia – though that may not be obvious from this poem about a modern family life.

When my children were toddlers, I limited the television that they watched. As they developed their own minds and opinions, this stance became harder to maintain. That their father also works in I.T. is not the only reason that they now lead fairly high-tech lives, though it does help to have home I.T. support for the many questions which are over my head.

Like it or lump it, we live in a high-tech world. The chances are that whatever career or lifestyle my children’s generation go for when they’re older, it will require them to be au fait and comfortable with technology. And the easiest way to learn anything is through play.

Nearly 15, my elder son has known more about computers than me for years now. My twelve year old isn’t far behind. And, to be fair, though I’m not up on gaming and gadgets, I do spend a fair amount of my own time on my laptop word processor or researching from the internet.

This poem then was inspired by one of those moments when my boys were younger. I suddenly looked up and saw our life from the outside. Instead of talking or playing with toys together as we had a few years earler, we were all hooked up to computers. The boys were still interacting, but through their machines.

Because of this, as a family, we do make an effort to spend some time face-to-face in conversation, old-fashioned board games, at the dinner table. But, yes, we have also been known to call them down using skype rather than shouting up the stairs!

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

There are three people in this poem constructed in three-line stanzas. Is this significant or just coincidence? Consider the different effects that may be created using things in threes (crescendo, uneven completeness…) or twos (balance, stark contrast, sense of indecision…).

Inspiration/Writing Prompts

1) What can’t robots and machines do? Is there a poem or story that can be generated from this?
2) What is the strongest connection in your life? How do you maintain your connections? How and where do you most connect with people? What would happen if you suddenly lost this connection/these connections? Use the answers to these questions as the outline for a poem or story.

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.