In the Auschwitz Infirmary
A line of naked stick-men; he in front
Eyes longingly a pair of chamber pots,
When told to, on the one he’s told to, squats,
In sixty seconds, though, can only grunt.
By squirting out a dysenteric mess
His aim (excuse the pun) had been to stay
In the infirmary a further day;
Instead, he’s kicked aside and told to dress.
Another, with his entrails in a knot
That tightens every second, quells a howl,
Loses the bid to cow his brimming bowel,
Sullies a Nazi toecap and is shot.
There’s one, though, who has made the 19th block
A comfortable home within the camp.
He lines up with the long-term squirting champ
And, while all eyes are looking at the clock,
They switch the pisspots. Thus, for half his bread,
Through roll call he can comfortably doze
While, sockless in the snow in ragged rows,
The half-alive must hold up last night’s dead.
Never, in my wildest imaginings
Could I ever have dreamt
That one day I would hold in my hand
A small device
Which could provide me
With every miracle ever conceived by man
Which could harness air waves
And light waves and sound waves
And carry a memory of more than
A million lifetimes
And by merely touching it with my fingertips
Allow me access to the world’s knowledge
And place people across the globe
Into my space
Right there in front of me.
The phenomenon I hold in my hand
Tells me everything I ever wanted to learn:
It instructs me. It guides me
It talks to me. It plays music for me
It is my friend, my companion, my other self
It astounds me. It charms me.
It challenges me.
It overwhelms me.
We live with complacency
Surrounded by the most incredible of miracles
Yet we continually wait to be woken
By another manifestation
The ultimate, the even better
So that we can test the human capacity
For invention and mastery
Smaller and smaller microchips
In bigger and bigger constellations
The smart-phone which awaits my bidding
Is a miracle designed for and by mortals
From components generated
By an Intelligence beyond our understanding
Embedded within our being are also microchips
Embracing gifts of logic, insight, imagination
Poetry, art and music
Love, laughter and appreciation
Within our hands lies the capacity to construct
Within our minds, the capacity to create
Within our hearts, the capacity to care
If this small mobile phone has so much power
How do we divine the source and complexity
Of every force and every energy
Not yet even comprehended by man?
Or the origin
Of the unimaginable intricacies and connectivity
Of every evolution and design
Delineated even before and beyond?
And which remains and will remain
In our domain
Undiscovered and unknown
For we are too microcosmic
And cannot see