Geoff Lander : The Dream of the Black Phone

Hal the hallway telephone
chattered day and night,
mouldering there immobile
in jet-black Bakelite.
Despite his dowdy colour scheme
this old blower had a dream.

‘Damn it!’, said the dog and bone,
‘It’s hell at Ditton Grange!’
Twenty years of bondage here,
high time to ring a change.
My vision is we phones will be
emancipated, socket-free.’

Worn-out on four monstrous tomes
the sad old dialler died.
Lightweight plastic handsets trumped
phenol formaldehyde;
as Telstar beamed to bleak Goonhilly
twisted pairs looked rather silly.

Roofs now sport the sloping dome
or signal-boosting mast;
the vision is reality
but privacy’s the past–
to Hal’s descendants great despair
their work enslaves them everywhere.