An Homage to Stephen Vincent Benet's Poem "Nightmare Number Three"
Benet Was Right by Jennifer C. Weil
Superjacent to my sanity
a blanket of wet smoke
making of sight of touch of taste
mocking the elemental joys.
How did I (we) come so far
away from the feel of warm earth
underfoot, and breeze on neck,
and sun leaning into our skin
like a passionate lover?
Bits and PCs and bytes and memory
and time sucked up by the tap-tap-tapping
of the keyboard, caressed more often
and more earnestly than my child,
flesh and blood versus chips and plastic,
and can I (we) shake this off,
this miasmic dressing gown
that imprisons me (us) in cybertwilight
while the fragrant, loamy eloquence
of Nature shakes a sad and weary head,
wondering at the complex being
who has not enough bells and whistles
and always too much to do
and gathers not rosebuds but
vector errors, system crashes. Angst
is elemental now, its bulk a sad new birthright.
Around me (us) in surfeit are the signs;
how well we have fed the beast capacious
until it threatens to starve us of ourselves,
give the Machine exactly what it wants.
* * *