May 5, 2010

Max’s Musings

maxBy Max Molleston

I’ve worked this “rehash” in a way to highlight two poets ability to reveal strengths and realities for advancement.

I indicated I would be writing about flowers this month. I hope the blooms in your yard and surroundings came on time, and the blossoms are beautiful! I hope the plants you planned to brighten your landscape are in order and set to show beauty beyond your fondest dreams! My efforts are more or less customary over the past two years in Coralville. I do leave money for varieties that are “cheaper” and “cuter” abandoned by other shoppers. So much for beauty.

How about excitement that continues to flow from tech show-offs and techniques used in communications currently? We could go on. However I am asking you to tolerate a “re-run” this May from a Christmas time
column in 2006 about the fastest communications over distances in the past. They had been the saddle-sore Calvary horsemen and the faster saddle pals of the Pony Express, also including Native American smoke coding. About that time trains on tracks began to cross our nation. Samuel F B Morse and his code in dots and dashes could be an artistic adventure. A G Bell, his competitors and cohorts added voice excitement. Excitement! How is it possible? Messages sent and received over a
copper wire.

I re-introduce two well known Americans for poems on these spectacular and wonderful events. First a Robert Frost poem.

The Line Gang

Here come the line-gang, pioneering by.
They throw a forest down, less cut than broken.
They plant dead trees for living, and the dead
They string together with a living thread.
They string an instrument against the sky
Wherein words, whether beaten out or spoken
Will run as hushed as when they were a thought.
But in no rush they string it;
And go past with shouts afar to pull the cable taut,
To hold it hard until they make it fast, to ease
Away – they have it. With a laugh, an oath
That set the wild at naught, they bring
The telephone and telegraph.

Lots of hard facts in that poem with such significance.

“They throw a forest down.” That is strong poetry. It is the kind Robert Frost is capable of in his more robust language staged in a page.

Second is Carl Sandburg. A Galeburg native, he was a realist here as in many of his poetic efforts. “Humming and thrumming” is a very real efforts to bring sound to this poem.

Under a Telephone pole

I am a copper wire slung in the air,
slim against the sun I make not even a clear
line of shadow. Night and day I keep singing –
humming and thrumming.
It is love and war and money; it is the fighting
and the tears, the work and want, death and
laughter of men and women passing through me,
carrier of your speech. In the rain and wet,
Dripping, in the dawn and the shine drying,
A copper wire.

These events in speech and messaging technology and travel on train tracks fought with the thrill of the special pony riders and their gallant mounts, cutting into the era of horseback progress, justice and injustice disrupting and augmenting in turn, the Civil War in America. The telegram’s new way of communication with STOP(s) harkens to new short messages connecting humans and machines lately. We must not forget efforts of thousands of strong brave men fighting all elements of nature, pushing this era of science. As each surfaced it was put forward as an advancement, and set up to bring a commercial profit.

I’ve worked this “rehash” in a way to highlight two poets ability to reveal strengths and realities for advancement. Join me in June. New stuff (maybe some older poets).