The Phone

Waiting for the third ring, to know it’s not for us
Then the party line gets cranked up to a crackling connection
With cables plugged in, switched up and down
By the friendly operator on this line and that
While we shout louder as though that would make one heard
And then a click says there must be yet another listening.
So please, please get off the line, this is a hospital.
Now the line’s gone dead – like the fish that got away.

Alexander Graham Bell goes on the blink.
Winding the handle, bashing the pins makes no difference,
Nor does crying operator, operator, I need the operator ....
Until I give up, not knowing what it was all about.
These days I can listen in to conversations on the 269
The ring-tone tells me it’s another Nokia
As the decibels increase between Bromley and Bexley :
O, hi, .... sorry I’m late; ... I’m just on my way ....
No, nothing serious, just stuck in traffic;
Even the bus-lane’s blocked ....
O, no,....  you can’t be serious .... O go on ....
Never mind, .... Speak soon then ....  Bye.

Chit–chat bounced off a satellite onto hearing aids
Wireless signals of minor communication
As the red bus passes one of Scott’s unused boxes
And the brain crackles, wondering what it was all about.
October 2011 

Overhearing conversation on a London Bus stirs memories of the party line phone in Zambia.

Red Public Phone Boxes - Covent Garden, London, England - Thursday September Thirteenth 2007.jpg
by Keven Law