Works in the Herald 1930

The telephone service between the United Kingdom and Australia will be inaugurated at 6p.m. today.

Back in the parlous days of pioneering
   Were men more patient than we are today?
Brave voyagers adventured, hoping, fearing,
   To face the danger of a long sea way;
In storm-tossed craft through months they sailed the ocean
   To lands far from all contact with their kind,
And waited news, with but a misty notion
   When next they'd hear of all they'd left behind.

Patient and resolute and isolated,
   The Motherland, yet often on their lips,
Gave them no word till thro' the weeks they'd waited
   For scanty news borne by uncertain ships.
But there was work to do; and staunchly striving,
   They turned their thoughts to labor of the day;
And news from home, so laggardly arriving,
   Was all the sweeter for the long delay.

And now? -- "Hey, Central!  Central, I am waiting!
   (Whatever ails this service I don't know.
Wasting my time!  It's very aggravating!)
   Hey, Central!  Five me London two-four-oh.
Engaged?  Aw, try again!  (I don't believe her)
   Hey, Central!  Have I got to Waste all day?
I've been two minutes at this dashed receiver!
   I never knew of such absurb delay ... "

Well, I suppose it's progress -- not a blunder --
   All this wild urgency and frantic haste.
But are we happier for it all, I wonder?
   Oh, don't ask me; I have no time to waste.

Herald, 30 April 1930, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-06