Arts and Culture

A new poem on the 'tyrannical perfection' of modern life

What will daily life feel like as the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers pace? Image: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Brian Bilston
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Brian Bilston, the "unofficial poet laureate of twitter" is writing a series of poems on the theme of The Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is the third poem.

A Life Sentience

They will be wondering - by now - where I am.
It’s not like me to be home so late
on a Wednesday,

particularly one in September.
This will not be forgotten in a hurry.
I can sense their censure, even from here;

hear the hiss of the vegetables
as they soften
under the refrigerator’s cool stare

and the dark scowl of the coffee machine.
I should have called, not just left them
to their own devices.

But perhaps they already know
that I am in crisis,
observed tiny shifts in my behavior

of which even I was unaware;
the depth of my tread
upon the carpet,

or the slouching in my chair
from which I shall not leap up
to rescue a forgotten cake

or slowly hoist myself
to trudge to the corner shop.
Its milk cartons must serve another.

And no more shall my day start
with a blast of cold
to snatch my breath

as the shower wakes for morning
or a desperate stretch
for a toilet roll that is not there.

For everything is just so,
optimized
into tyrannical perfection,

a thousand decisions and revisions,
all the humdrumness of life
outsourced

to things far smarter than I.
And, in its place,
an absence

and this stretching of the hours.

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Related topics:
Arts and CultureFourth Industrial Revolution
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