the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Patrick Henry

Cat Walk

They all hate this garden, except the cats
Strayed in here daily from neat homes nearby;
Exploring this tangle, wild as spirits they possess;
Free from civil codes their house-proud owners hold,
Who call city hall, slide unsigned notes through my door,
To state my place gives grounds for disgrace.
A slur on the town's right to keep good order.
All eyes and tongues cast harsh slants my way;
Except from cats, who pause, prowling across
This area of my guilt and their sheer delight.
Gratitude not in their nature, nor incline to accuse
Others of failing in dependent hopes
They never hold. Fine strokes in their green eyes,
Meet mine, saying: "what is life but a vital urge?"


Terrestrial Closedown

Terrestrial channels must end? This television service change
Sounds grim as last warnings from Sci-Fi films.
"The Day the Earth Stood Still": movies that great.
This smaller picture they'll wipe from our living room,
And we must settle to face real life now.
An idea not favoured by smart media.
Virtual Reality. The code for broadcasts which most accept.
Digital changeover, a bridge too far for my sceptic kind.
Our old cathode box lies trashed on the urban dump.
Decades of so-called entertainment dying out.
Ragged junk dealers will not give a cent for it.
Few past shows screened seemed worth even that.
Our childhood deep as lakeside mist, saw no TV casts.
The cat, the mice, the log fire, rain on the roof: all we heard
Wax discs could turn old songs on horned gramophones.
Radios crackled, cleared their voice, tones stern.
News broke. The world at war, now surrendering.
Who ever won: assault on the mind could now begin.



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