The reason I purchased a cell phone was clear,
(it was so long ago I’ve forgotten the year):
to make contact for help if my car should break down
when I’m driving at night in a dark, unknown town.
I wanted a phone, nothing more, nothing less,
but this cell phone did things that I never would guess:
It woke me at dawn with a Schubert quintet,
and it listed my contacts in case I forget.
All that was just fine ’til my kids said one day,
that I have to upgrade, “Throw your old phone away –
we can’t send you pictures until you agree!”
So they bought me a smartphone and said, “You will see
that it’s easy to use, so compact and so neat.”
Overnight my small camera became obsolete;
my kids sent me pictures and I sent to them,
I had Google, and apps – it’s the crème de la crème!
I struggled with maps if I needed to go
to addresses in places that I didn’t know,
“You’ve got to have WAZE – no, there’s no extra cost –
click in the address and you’ll never get lost!”
One day I had reason to travel by train;
said my son, “There’s an app!” – something new once again,
I can see at a glance when the train leaves from where
and the time it will take me, from here ’til I’m there.
My fresh independence was growing so fast
that my confidence blossomed with service so vast.
With too many photos, in numerous ways
my smartphone informed me I had to erase,
but a new disadvantage was starting to form:
my phone must be with me – that’s now the new norm.
When I’m washing the dishes piled up in the sink
or writing a poem and trying to think…
It buzzes and jingles – a message, a call…
From my family, friends, I must answer them all…
I get videos, pictures and comments galore
I’ll go out of my mind if I get any more…
I am quite independent – but no longer free,
since this little machine is beginning to be
a disruption, upsetting my daily routine,
an unbearable state I could not have foreseen.
I began a campaign – in a large concert hall
with the words: “Strength in numbers!” – a true battle call
for a protest so massive that smartphones will know
there’s a limit to how far their power can go.
In a blow to supremacy, eight hundred phones
were switched off, to become now as silent as stones.
For two glorious hours they were helpless, quite dead
while the audience listened to music instead.
The euphoria lingered, long after it ended,
my smartphone on mute for more time than intended.
I left it switched off, and for several hours
I relished the silence of sunshine and flowers.
In addition to feeling my freedom once more
I remembered the calm, quiet life from before;
the sea didn’t sink and the sky didn’t fall,
on the contrary, peacefulness reigned over all.