Charles Duell

By: solomon (School of Arts, Languages and Cultures)
Competition Year: 2018
Votes (2) | Comments (1)
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"Everything that can be invented, has been"
- Charles Duell, 1899

This is the scientific equivalent of 'peace in our time'
That piece of paper that gave us peace of mind
But before that piece of history
We should solve this mystery
Of the patent lawyer years behind

Charles, American, lawyer when he was alive
But he didn't even live to see a television live!
Although, he did see a camera, and he heard a man talk
And he will have seen the crutches that first helped the ill to walk
He would have fired a gun, and would have seen the plane
So although he never saw a Spitfire he saw ingredients all the same
He would have heard a radio, and he would have read the sporting scores
So does it really matter that he never saw Gary's drawers?

He knew what his family sounded like, and he might have had a phone
So what if he never left a message after the tone?
He'd have heard a bird tweet, and seen a crocodile snap
He might have liked a 'gram - though probably not the app
He would face books and study, he'd never dwindle
So he could turn Pages with or without a Kindle
And he'd have eaten plentifully, recipes old and Georgian
With or without a handy George Foreman

The Earth still tremored and the seas still rose
He'd have still had idols, still had heroes
He'd seen the telescope and he'd seen the stars
So although he never walked the moon, we've both been as close to Mars
He might not have typed an email, or sent a ticket via Skiddle
But I bet he had lovely handwriting, and learnt to play the fiddle

This poem isn't advertising history, or glorifying the past
It's not even suggesting that technology has moved so fast
It's not implying that our gadgets are more than an accessory
Its not hinting that the Cloud is something rather necessary

No, its far more simple, and maybe Charles was right
A chef doesn't 'invent' food, just picks out every bite

We live in a finite universe, we should choose to mind it
Because everything is already out there - we just have to find it.
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Peter Fenn:
Bravo the first poem submitted by a non-scientist