Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tennyson would have played Seafarers

It little profits that a teenage kid,
By a still screen, through a barren game,
Connected through a rusty link, does click and kill
Faceless foes in a savage race,
To hoard, and sleep, and feed, and talk not once.
I cannot rest from people: I will meet them
Over a board: All games I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have played greatly, but with those
That loved me; not alone, decrepit on a chair,
Eyes and mouth agape, an equal stare
And none to hear: To become a name;
A screen-name pressing with a heavy thumb.
Much have I seen and known; boards of cities
And goods, climates, trades, auctions,
Myself not least, given to the game;
But face to face, battling with my peers,
Their warm brown hands and kindly smiles.
I am a part of all whom I have met;
Yet all meetings are an arch through which
Gleams that next game with other friends
For ever and forever when I play.
How dull it is to stare at shiny graphics,
To meet no other, speak nobody's name!
As though to breathe were life! Where the happy face
And all-familiar laughter, give and take,
Sharing drinks and food, talking into words,
Into that eternal silence, something more,
And not just pallor in a game; an evil thing
For kids to know nothing more of meetings,
Than the gray spurt of automatic gunfire
And blood falling like a sinking spirit,
And no real feeling for a human thought.

This is my son, my own head-banger,
To whom I hold affection and respect
Well-loved by me, if not his metal music -
Raucous so-called screechings filled with death,
Chaos, slaves, and kings; and he fancies himself such,
Intent to rule the world, subdue them all
And think no more of books and school and stuff
Wired up by ears, a banging gall
Of thrashing noise; and equally in his eyes
Gore and guts; and what has he gained in hours
From all this heap of electronic powers?

There lies the plug; pull it off the wall:
Open your eyes and see. My players,
Friends and companions, who have played a game with me
And ever on a friendly game night built
Towers and kingdoms in our imagination
But for freedom, not to conquer--he is not too young
To learn to talk to others at the table
Death closes all: but something else may yet be played
And enjoyed, other than brutal slaying,
Unbecoming of men that strive with God.
The lights no longer twinkle on the screen
The power turned off; the phone unhooked: the deep
Moans of many children bored. Come, my kids,
'T is not too late to learn a newer world.
Turn off, and meet over a board,
And meet new people; for my purpose holds
To play beyond the network, always learning
In the comfort of my company, until I die.
It may be that some games will be worthless;
It may be that we play the holy grail
And find hours of joyful entertainment,
Though much is old fashioned, much is new; and though
We play not now with video processed-driven battles
Computing earth and heaven, what we play, we play;
Many tempered hearts and hands together,
Made slow by taking turns, but strong in fun
To touch, to talk, to think, and not to drool.


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