Trading Technology for the Common Touch

When I look up, I meet the eyes
Of the one who is before me:
My child, my spouse, my neighbor,
My client, my colleague, my friend.

I read what is unsaid.
I guess at what a frown
Might signify. I see assent
In a smile or doubt in silence.
I hear what is not spoken.

When I look down at my screen–
iPhone, iPad, iPod and tablets
Of every kind, I miss the nuance
Of a slight nod, a raised eyebrow.
But— I can take copious notes!
Pecking out on a keyboard
Words said—while maybe missing
The bigger picture. My screen
Shields me, keeping others at bay:
I pay half-heed to what they say.

When did it become okay
To interrupt a conversation;
To monitor text and email
While pretending to listen
To the person sitting
Right across the table?

Remember when our electronics
Did not jostle the silverware?
When we looked at each other,
And completed our sentences?
Once upon a time we didn’t
Feel we had to compete
With what was being served
In our inboxes between
The appetizer and the entrée.

Once, we reconstituted
The special moments of our life
Mostly through our imperfect
Memory of them. We viewed
The past, not through limitless
Digital albums of every action
Captured forever, but thru the lens
Of recollection that sees the past
As an ever-shifting landscape
Through the prism of the present,
And hopes for the future.

And what would He say
About our many mobile devices
That separate us, even as they
Trick us into a kind of
Impersonal connectedness?

Remember when He took a whip
To those traders in the Temple?
I bet He would challenge us
To trade our technology
For the common touch.

Because we do not get beyond
Ourselves through Blackberries
And Droids that buzz and flash
And grind. Even smartphones
Aren’t smart enough to google
The Divine. But if we stop
Long enough to look each other
In the eye, we might catch a glimpse
Of the splendor in the grass
That the poet promised.

And we might see.

“I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see, and hear but do not listen or understand.”Matthew 13: 13


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Posted in Communications, I BLOG, Listening, Seeing, Uncategorized

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