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The Talkers
J. Patrick Lewis

What a tintinnabulation is the jingling of their cells,
Here they come.
From the airport, home, or office, raucous jungles of the bells,
         Here they come.
When the rabble gabs and babbles, there is something that compels
One to seek the catacombs where taciturnity still dwells.
Say good-bye to conversation; say hello there, bagatelles.
         Here they come. Here they come. Here they come.
They are reinventing wheels that never seem to slip a cog.
         Here they come.
When John Cage is the conductor of white noise called “dialog,”
         Here they come.
Want to share your minute’s wisdom? Some pet peeve you need to flog
With an unassuming bullhorn? Not a problem: Start a blog.
When reality’s illusion, everybody praises fog.
Here they come. Here they come. Here they come.
Did they not receive the memo: “What’s worth saying has been said”?
Here they come.
They are happy :-) very happy :-)) when the Facebook’s being fed.
         Here they come.
As for meeting folks, why bother, they can tweet the blokes instead.
In the age of nothing, really, nothing’s real until it’s read.
So it’s texting, sexting . . ., next thing? They are (virtually) in your bed.
        Here they come. Here they come. Here they come.
It’s a certainty they’re tailing you, your pants begin to hum.
        Here they come.
When the writing on “the wall” is as insistent as a drum,
        Here they come.
You awake each hopeful morning being “poked” ad nauseum
With intentions that endure for half the life of chewing gum.
Got a message from a “friend,” but no idea who it’s from?
        Here they come. Here they come. Here they come.
What a pity to have read this far a verse so obsolete,
        Here they come,
When the next amazement’s been and gone—delete, delete, delete.
        Here they come.
Words have yet to be invented; dictionaries can’t compete
With the latest greatest techno-digititillating treat.
Wait, the revolution’s over? There’s another. Have a seat. 
        Here they come. Here they come. Here they come.
This poem first appeared in Light Quarterly, 2010.

Used here with the author’s permission.


J. Patrick Lewis was the U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate from 2011-2013. Author of 85 children’s picture/poetry books and veteran of more than 500 visits to elementary schools around the world, J. Patrick spent many years as an economics professor before becoming a full-time writer. A resident of Westerville, Ohio, he is a twin, a fact he says "has shaped my life indelibly and delightfully from the womb." Pat is also the author of a collection of poetry for adults, Gulls Hold Up the Sky, and a nonfiction poetry primer for teachers. Learn more about him at


Post New Comment:
Pat, you really nailed it! I love the repetition because it reminds me just how hectic keeping up with all this has become! : )
Posted 01/04/2014 04:56 PM
This was wonderful!
Posted 01/04/2014 11:36 AM
Love this, Pat. And now, to your utter dismay, I'm going to share it on my Facebook Page;>) Happy New Year!
Posted 01/04/2014 08:12 AM
Another poem that makes me wish I was still in the classroom and could share this with sixth graders. I will laugh about this one all day.
Posted 01/04/2014 07:30 AM
A fun parody of Poe's classic!
Posted 01/04/2014 06:47 AM
What a treat to read first thing in the morning! I think I'll be smiling all day long!
Posted 01/04/2014 05:59 AM
Oh, Pat! What a sad, sad techno-digititillated state our society is in. Thank goodness all the poets have not stopped poeting!
Posted 01/04/2014 04:19 AM

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