WTF? What are the odds that two telephones would both go bad at the same time, or that their independent jacks would do so, or the separate cables connecting them to those jacks? Not great, I imagine, and so I am left with a puzzle. I am also left without my modern connection to the world other than the Internet. I find this strange and disturbing. No dial tones! What if my house catches fire? What if a murderer breaks down my door? What if I have an irresistible craving for pizza which can only be acquired by telephone-ordered delivery?
The collapse of modern civilization is not what I expected to encounter today, but here it is. I am in the dark ages (electricity, cable television, Internet, flush toilet, refrigerator, electric oven, microwave, water heater, gas range, furnace, and a few other items excepted.) How will I cope? What are my chances of survival? Someone could be trying to call me right now and I, a bloating, telephoneless soon-to-be corpse would never know!
Such a tragedy gives one pause. Being cut off so is such a challenge, will I be able to rise to it? Can I be like Lewis and Clark, confronting the mysterious and threatening wilderness? Like stout Cortez, silent on a peak in Darien? Like Odysseus, storm-tossed, shipwrecked, yet determined to reach his home? I guess I'll find out, though I have no idea what is wrong, and since the Internet (and thus the squirrel-chewed cable) still works, it is none of AT&T's problem and I must deal with it myself.
Oh, the humanity!
by Howard Nemerov
Who can remember back to the first poets,
The greatest ones, greater even than Orpheus?
No one has remembered that far back
Or now considers, among the artifacts,
And bones and cantilevered inference
The past is made of, those first and greatest poets,
So lofty and disdainful of renown
They left us not a name to know them by.
They were the ones that in whatever tongue
Worded the world, that were the first to say
Star, water, stone, that said the visible
And made it bring invisibles to view
In wind and time and change, and in the mind
Itself that minded the hitherto idiot world
And spoke the speechless world and sang the towers
Of the city into the astonished sky.
They were the first great listeners, attuned
To interval, relationship, and scale,
The first to say above, beneath, beyond,
Conjurors with love, death, sleep, with bread and wine,
Who having uttered vanished from the world
Leaving no memory but the marvelous
Magical elements, the breathing shapes
And stops of breath we build our Babels of.