Friday, May 18, 2012

Poetry Friday: Oceans

This week I listened to this program on a podcast. It's an interview with Sherry Turkle, who wrote Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Some of what Turkle said made me think about a poem I wrote a couple of months ago. It's about an experience a good friend had with technology.


He Seeks Oceans

Testing the new software,
He says, "Oceans" into his smart phone.
What will the cheerful, pleasant female voice suggest
To this man in a landlocked state,
Six hundred miles from surf, sand, and mermaids?
Will she counsel a ten-hour road trip
To the closest seaside town?
Or a ten-minute drive to a lobster restaurant?
Will she bring up alternative swimming experiences
Such as creeks, lakes, and public pools?

But no. She immediately replies,
"Ocean View Liquor Store," and gives the address and helpful directions.
The liquor store is surely no substitute for the ocean,
Any more than a lightbulb substitutes for the moon,
Or a one night stand for true, eternal love,
Or a cleverly designed smart phone,
However brilliant the virtual advisor,
For a much-loved human voice
Proposing a walk on the beach,
The shallow edge of endless ocean depths.

Ruth, from thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com


Early morning at the ocean (the real thing). Taken at Jacmel, Haiti, last December.

Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.

10 comments:

jama said...

Yes! Wholly agree with the sentiment of your poem. Technology is definitely miraculous, but it's changing who we are -- in many negative ways, I'm afraid.

Tabatha said...

Beautiful photo and beautiful poem. I particularly liked:
The liquor store is surely no substitute for the ocean,
Any more than a lightbulb substitutes for the moon,

Author Amok said...

Wonderful poem, Ruth. I can understand why this moment inspired you. Technology can't replace our longing for deep, mysterious things like the ocean and the moon, but sometimes it can help us understand the mystery.

Janet said...

I really like your poem. Kind of a crushing contrast between all that comes to mind with the word "ocean," and the words of the "helpful" voice.

I liked Sherry Turkle's book, though it's very sobering.

Ruth said...

Janet, I thought of you when I listened to the podcast. I had heard of the book on your blog. I think you'd really like the interview. It's fun to listen to, in spite of the subject matter.

Liz Steinglass said...

Oh no! a liquor store instead of the actual ocean! I can understand why you had to write this. I saw her TED talk. It was very interesting.

Linda at teacherdance said...

Oh, Ruth, such an apt comment on the world as we know it now, and used to know it. Beautifully shown, words and picture.

Mary Lee said...

Thank you for the

"much-loved human voice
Proposing a walk on the beach,
The shallow edge of endless ocean depths."

and for the photo of your -- very real -- ocean.

You have summed up why I am so reluctant in my technological fluency. Just because I have access and know how to use it, I never want to lose my fluency in real, live human relations.

Andromeda Jazmon Sibley said...

I am finding it so fun to play these games with computers. And just laugh at the silliness of her answers - how little she knows, and how many addresses she has to shuffle - unaware of how far off the mark! Poor little phone voice lady...

Jessica said...

I love this Ruth!