The telephone is the fruit
of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil. We may call
everyone up on it but God.
To do that is to declare
that he is far off. Dialling
zero is nothing other
than the negation of his presence.
So many times I have raised
the receiver, listening to
that smooth sound that is technology’s
purring; and the temptation
has come to experiment
with the code which would put
me through to the divine
snarl at the perimeter of such tameness.
by R. S. Thomas
from Experimenting with an Amen (1986)
When Aunty Joan became a phone,
She sat there not saying a thing.
The doctor said, shaking his head,
‘You’ll just have to give her a ring.’
We had a try, but got no reply.
The tone was always engaged.
‘She’s just being silly,’ said Uncle Billy,
Slamming down the receiver enraged.
‘Alas, I fear,’ said the engineer,
Who was called in to inspect her,
‘I’ve got no choice. She’s lost her voice.
I shall have to disconnect her.’
The phone gave a ring. ‘You’ll do no such thing,’
Said Aunty’s voice on the line.
‘I like being a phone. Just leave me alone,
Or else I’ll dial nine-nine-nine!’
– by Derek Stuart