Apr '14 23

Pixellation. Photo by Robert Rath from Robert's website.

Today I was browsing the book Adventures in Form for inspiration for today's poem and I came across a footnote which said that Reginald Fessenden broadcast the first human speech over a radio with the message "1, 2, 3, 4. Is it snowing where you are, Mr Thiessen? If it is, telegraph back and let me know."

So I fell down another rabbit hole and found this article about him .

I decided to write a 'rescued' poem (you can read about that process I've developed here). I rescued today's poem from the IEEE article and a Wikipedia article about snow.

This rescued poem is different from most of my other rescued poems in that the subject doesn't deviate significantly from the original source texts; that's probably because I was intrigued by Mr Fessenden the innovator and how unacknowledged he was/is.

Is it snowing where you are, Mr Thiessen?

The voice he heard was crystalline and thin
like the air of thundersnow and cloud
through which the waves of sound were broadcast.
Mr Thiessen was indeed astonished
by the miracle of wireless speech:
prescient question about that stormy coast
and its thick and frozen landscape; acoustic echo
from the gifted Mr Fessenden.

And a man's own story is like snowflakes:
unique and thin words wafting in the ether
trapped in a transmission atmosphere
settling onto giant private icebergs;
or even snowflakes hardened into hail,
crushing and dampening a private dream.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

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