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Saturday 5 November 2011

A Waste of Words

Think of a tap left running to waste.
All that water,
thousands of gallons
running to waste.

A priceless resource.

How much more tragic are
words the world over running to waste
in the normal course of achieving nothing?
A priceless resource.

I switch on the T.V. news.
Someone talks to a microphone
speaking in Russian, Chinese -
Ancient Egyptian, for all I know.
But wait... someone translates.
Two taps together, but just out of step.
Running to waste.
Important debate.
Delivery slow.
Text dry and technical.
Like a chef who insists his diners should watch
as the Brussels are topped,
potatoes are peeled...
then serves them up raw.

These times must rank
among the most exciting ever
serious ever
frightening ever
fatal perhaps. And yet
we render them boring.

How is that done?
Why does it all run to waste?
In parliament they talk for hours
to rows of empty seats.

News readers don't like reading
reporters all but hate reporting.
What they like is atmosphere
and experts who can talk.
For atmosphere
they'll shout their news above an angry crowd
or talk beside a runway
with jet planes taking off
or chat among the traffic
on a busy urban street
in the middle of a storm.

On video phones
they mouth like drowning fish
until it freezes,
when they speak
like poor ventriloquists.

What happened to the days
when they simply read the news?


Christine said...

"These times must rank
among the most exciting ever
serious ever
frightening ever
fatal perhaps".

Yes indeed... as Europe is nigh on going down the gurgler... what that means for all of us is yet to unfold.


Raj said...

its never invaluable till you have it. its once you lose it that you realize what it meant to u.

David Cranmer said...

Sharp insight, Dave. Fave line: "they mouth like drowning fish."

Isabel Doyle said...

well yes Mr King - is it the journalists or the moguls who dictate what we will watch/read/listen to? Fine poem with many memorable lines.

Isabel x

sunny said...

Hi Mr Dave,the first stanza is superb,overall good work

Brian Miller said...

they mouth like drowning fishes....nice...i really enjoyed this piece dave...it dances the surreal a bit which i like as well...and still conveys a message...

Carl said...

Another great poem Dave. It got the wheels turning this morn ng about all sorts of things to do with the role of the media in our world and if the overload and overselling of 'news' is whipping us into a frenzy or freezing us in our place. Both and neither i suppose. Funny as I write this Bob Dylan's 'The Times they Are a Changin' just started playing on my iPod. You seem to be in synch with my playlist this morning.

haricot said...

I wonder that those who have to choose the news are readers, not media? Any way,"No news is good news".

Art Durkee said...

Ancient Chinese curse:

"May you live in interesting times, may your children move back in with you, and may the government always know where you are."

Mary said...

So many truths in here, Dave. This is a keeper. I laughed about in parliament they talk for hours to rows of empty seats! Similar, at times, in the US Senate and House of Representatives. I do think many times people consider the actual news events (with the speaking of Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc.) boring; but they like to listen to the 'talking heads' who dissect / interpret the words later. Odd people, we!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

It is terribly true, I have always sensed this. Progress in communications can mean also their progressive annihilation. How often one runs the risk to just talk only to him/herself!

Windsmoke. said...

I reckon there's more fiction in the news these days because the media just can't be trusted to reveal the facts :-).

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Excellent, and very true!

Tabor said...

In our pathetic little culture the news is ignored for the information about celebrities who seem to have no talent except to make money and make news!

Jenny Woolf said...

I always listen to the news on the radio now. They do try to include the planes and crowded rooms, but if they have too much of them the listeners complain!

Dave King said...

Not just Europe either, though we might lead the way!

Very true. Thanks.

Thanks. I quite liked that line, m yself!

Glad you like it - I think they both do.

Thanks sunny.

hat's good to hear. I like a side dish of surreal, myself.

Wow, that must be the first ever - me in synch with the playlist! Summat is up with the world!
Thanks for the comment.

or good news is no news at all - according to them, that is.

Like it, like it lots! Thanks.

I've often wondered if its just our politicians who talk to empty seats. I wasn't thinking so much of speeches by Presidents etc asthe so-called "experts" speaking in foreign tongues. I suppose what's at the back of it is the loss of distinction between news (fact) and opinion passing as analysis.

Yes, I think that is so. Good point. Thanks for making it.

Or the raw facts don't sound bad enough to frighten us?

Thanks. Wish it wasn't, though!

Yes, you're right. Celebrities are news because they're celebrities and they are celebrities because they are news.

I agree. I think radio is better at it. They don't have the need to jazz it up.

Anonymous said...

loved your comparisons... so true

Cait O'Connor said...

News is no longer presented as news it is presented as entertainment which is really frightening.

Dave King said...

Thank you. Appreciate this.

Cait O'Connor
True, alas. It is also mixed with opinion and a bit of kite flying.

Jenni Jansen said...

What a fantastic poem. You captured the very essence of what ails us the world over. Well said. Thank you.