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Wang Xiuying

A Family WirelessAlistair Elliot
Vol. 13 No. 12 · 27 June 1991

A Family Wireless

Alistair Elliot

112 words

You switch it on, pour out a cup of tea,
drink it, and finally sounds of outer space
clearing its throat blow from the vizored face;
pause; then the swelling voice of history
refills our kitchen from the BBC.

I daren’t retune it: set before the war
on Home, it doesn’t know it’s Radio Four.
It never knew the Third, or Radio Three.
It had the Light, but mostly what has stained
the mouthlike patch there on the gauze was news:

Achilles, Ajax, Exeter have passed
from there into my head; six million gassed;
and eighty million others –
                                            Old friend, amuse
us now: what recent victories have we gained?

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