COMPETITION 13 -- Household Gods
Hymns of praise or hate were invited to household appliances or products. The fact that after more than forty years of marriage I have not yet used up all my original supply of wedding-present toasters did not stop you from sending in half a lorry-load more -- many of them, no doubt, unused relics from your own weddings. So, free replacement fuses to most of those whose lares and penates appear below: my prayers for a cheap plumber for Mae Scanlan and for tidier children for the Beary household -- plus an honourable mention (and a gallon of deodorant) for Rosa Johnson who will now be wearing clothes washed in a machine last used for cooking a whole salmon.
Chrome plated Belling from the Swedish lowlands,
purring with pleasure at its rye bread thrill,
seeds of sesame,
browned to perfection on the shiny grill.
Teflon-coated sandwich maker hums light pleasantries,
gestating paninis in her smooth cream flanks.
Aroma of prosciutto,
wafts on the breezes of the Arno’s banks.
Dirty British toaster with its smoke-caked toast rack
leans to attention on its three worn legs.
Bread from Sainsbury’s,
the Co-op, Tesco’s,
groomed to be smothered by scrambled eggs.
I own - no more than Air -
An Instrument of Sense -
A violence of troubled Stair -
This Patent Turbulence.
My Dyson is not shy -
Of all the Dust to come.
'Tis Nature - but not I -
Abhors a Vacuum.
Emily Dickinson, (re-incarnated, but still with her idiosyncratic punctuation), as D.A. Prince
O Miele! you’re such a honey –
sans a fridge, my ice cream’s runny
and my ham smells really funny –
sans a fridge.
Gosh, a freezer’s such a wheeze –
sans a freezer, what the peas? –
(and my milk would turn to cheese)
in a smidge.
In the 1800s Prinny
ate a lot, both furred and finny,
but so much went in the bin – he
had no fridge.
Fridges grant our global wishes –
tropic veg, Pacific fishes –
I can stash Lucullan dishes
in my fridge.
Our home has a gadget, and I'd like to toss it;
I'm speaking of you, pal -- our all-in-one faucet.
You may be attractive, all modern and gleaming,
But let me assure you, there's nothing redeeming
About you. You'd be bad enough in a sink,
But here in our shower! -- before we can blink,
Your cold turns to hot and your hot turns to cold;
Okay for the young, but it's hell on the old.
We push, pull, and turn, with extravagant curses,
And cringe to see just what your gizmo disperses.
Thanks to a young gung-ho marketer's spin-off,
We're likely to scald a good part of our skin off.
What is the problem with hot and cold spigots?
Wanting them both, are we set-in-stone bigots?
Life could get worse, as we move into summer,
But I'm taking action; I've summoned a plumber.
Thanks be to that most wonderful device
That gets us through the start of every day:
The humble toaster- squat, crumb-spattered, yet
So helpful in a very modest way.
No need to watch and wait, or turn the bread;
It's clever mechanisms see us through
That early morning semi-conscious state,
When even simple tasks are hard to do.
We all recall those grill-pan days of yore;
The smell of burning toast left far too late,
Or mother's hearty scraping in the sink;
The piebald offering dumped upon the plate.
No more of that -- now settings of our choice
Avoid the charcoal choke; the smoky haze.
A perfect wholemeal slice pops into view.
So toaster, let us sing your name in praise.
The way form follows function in design –
Triangle, semicircle, little more –
O metal hanger, come let us adore
Euclidean perfection in thy line!
That elements as base as thick-gauge wire
Can yield such objects, sacred and profound –
Take heart, believers! What could ever bound
The limits to which mankind may aspire?
(Idolatry like this is not for me;
For my part I still find the practice weird,
But by my teenage children they're revered,
Or so I gather, based on what I see;
It seems the only plausible excuse
For why their rooms and floors are never clean:
It's all to let their hangers stay pristine,
Too fine to ever foul with human use.)
My microwave has lost its bell.
My toast looks like it burned in Hell.
My stove is cold, my frig. is hot,
My coffee maker's gone to pot.
My vacuum cleaner sucks--half hearted--
My hard drive crashed--don't get me started!
They all are getting old, you see,
And sadly, that's including me.
Every vintage can be traced
But only I can't be replaced.