August 26th, 2006

ozarque figure

Linguistics; stylistics; sf poetry being made; round three; part two...

Thank you for your comments on the poem, and for all the encouraging words. Unless I've misunderstood you, most of you were ready to accept this poem as finished, unlike what happened with Rounds One and Two; I'm not sure what that means. It may mean that you'll object to the revised version (draft six) below....

[Working title: Too Human By Half]

You know how it is....
Mother gets old, and there are things that she can't do.
She has trouble getting up and dressing in the mornings;
she has trouble changing lightbulbs;
bathing is burdensome.
Dad gets old;
he has the same kinds of problems.
You know how it is.
And you know how we deal with it.

You go to DearCompanion.com and you order an elder-robot;
it gets delivered;
and from then on,
it does those things your elder has trouble doing.
There. That solves the problem.
But what were we thinking?

I take that back; I do know what we were thinking.
We were thinking that we didn't want Mother and Dad to be afraid
of the DearCompanions.
We had said so, straight out.
That's why the company was careful to make them look
a lot like people.
It was easy enough.
A woman-wig on Mother's robot;
a man-wig on Dad's.
The lower half of Mother's robot skirt-shaped
and painted a nice pink gingham;
the lower half of Dad's robot straight up and down
and painted a nice blue pinstripe.

Well. Time passes. Machines wear out.
Things break. Things fray.
Things stop working properly.
And the time came -- take my own case, for example --
when Mama's robot needed to be replaced.
But when we told her so, she was irrational
about it. Completely irrational.
"Replace JANE?" she cried. "Throw Jane AWAY?
Replace her just because she's getting OLD??"
Oh, we tried saying Jane was just a machine.
Of course we did.
And of course you know how that went over,
because it happened to you too.
"You will NOT replace Jane!" Mama told us.
(Yelled at us, actually.)
"You will NOT! You will get someone to HELP her!
And you will STOP calling her IT!"

This time, warned and aware and wiser,
we were far more careful.
We explained it to the company, straight out.
What was needed. What was required.

When DearCompanion designed and constructed the Assistant Robot line,
they honored the customer input we'd provided.
They made every one of the Assistant units look
exactly like a broom.


=====
[Part one of this post -- draft three -- is at http://ozarque.livejournal.com/298186.html .]
ozarque figure

Linguistics; stylistics; sf poetry being made; round three (final)

Well, that was quick! Thank you for your help; here's the poem in its final form.
=========


Too Human By Half

You know how it is....
Mother gets old, and there are things that she can't do;
she has trouble getting up and dressing in the mornings;
she has trouble changing lightbulbs;
bathing gets burdensome.
Dad gets old; he has the same kinds of problems.
You know how it is.
And you know how we deal with it.

You go to DearCompanion.com, and you order an elder-robot.
It gets delivered.
And from then on,
it does the things your elder has trouble doing.
That solves the problem.
But what were we thinking?

I take that back; I do know what we were thinking.
We were thinking that we didn't want Mother and Dad to be afraid
of the DearCompanions.
And so the company was careful to make them look
a lot like people.
It was easy enough.
A woman-wig on Mother's robot;
a man-wig on Dad's.
The lower half of Mother's robot skirt-shaped,
done as a nice pink gingham;
the lower half of Dad's robot straight up and down,
done as a nice blue pinstripe.

Well. Machines wear out. Things break. Things fray.
Things stop working properly.
And the time came -- take my own case, for example --
when Mama's robot needed to be replaced.
But when we told her so, she was completely irrational.
"Replace JANE?" she cried. "Just because she's getting OLD?"
We tried saying Jane was just a machine.
And of course you know how that went over,
because it happened to you too.
"You will NOT replace Jane!" Mama told us.
(Yelled at us, actually.)
"You will NOT! You will get someone to HELP her!
And you will STOP calling her IT!"

This time, we were much more careful.
When DearCompanion designed and constructed the Assistant Robot line,
they made every one of the units look
exactly like a broom.