(Poem #1900) On The Hurry Of This Time
With slower pen men used to write, Of old, when "letters" were "polite"; In Anna's or in George's days, They could afford to turn a phrase, Or trim a struggling theme aright. They knew not steam; electric light Not yet had dazed their calmer sight; - They meted out both blame and praise With slower pen. Too swiftly now the Hours take flight! What's read at morn is dead at night: Scant space have we for Art's delays, Whose breathless thought so briefly stays, We may not work - ah! would we might! - With slower pen.
I remember, back in the nineties when email was just beginning to be widespread, the flood of articles lamenting the inevitable demise of the handwritten letter, and the creeping soullessness of the casually dashed-off email that was replacing it. Come the next decade, and that has been succeeded by laments for the inevitable demise of the printed book, and its replacement by soulless e-books, expedient audiobooks and mindless television. It's rather amusing, then, to read today's poem, and realise that the hastier time Dobson was writing about was 1882. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. martin Biography: English poet, 1840-1921 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Austin_Dobson