Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dragon's Teeth


image from worldwarphotos.info


Dragon’s Teeth

“Any sufficiently advanced technology can be
indistinguishable from magic.”
--Arthur C, Clarke

Born in 1898.
my grandfather loved
to tell stories about his magical
youth, like when he was a a kid
delivering watermelons in a horse-drawn
wagon in Kettle Falls, and his team
was frightened by the sight of 
one of the first horseless
carriages, belching 
black smoke.

Too young to be conscripted
      in WWI, still he read his Jules Verne,
           and saw with his own eyes some of the 
      first planes, tanks, and machine guns.
His best friend had been a sniper
for the Army in France. He returned
with burned lungs from the gas attacks
in the trenches, and a tortured soul
haunted by battle fatigue until he died
of lung cancer at 29.

Turned out that my 
    grandfather was to old
         to be conscripted in WWII;
             was married with three kids, still
         he witnessed, as he put it,
    the advance of technology 
that was ushered in by the Allied 
need to achieve.victory”, the by God 
dawn of the Atomic Age, the death of
millions.

I once worked with two WWII veterans, both had 
been prisoners of war. One was working on a POW 
farm in Austria. Suddenly they heard a terrible roar;
looking up they saw a plane without a prop falling
out of the sky--but at the last moment it leveled off
and shot back up into the clouds--it was one of the
first German jet fighters. It took several days of
discussion among the prisoners to figure it out.

The other veteran had been in a POW camp on
the mainland of Japan. Late in the war, they were
awakened by a huge earthquake; running outside, 
looking across the bay, they saw the ominous 
rising of a mushroom cloud as Fat Man devastated
Nagasaki.

We boomers have seen
our own technological

magical marvels.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

16 comments:

brudberg said...

So much innovation has been put in technology with a purpose to kill... yet we bear the fruit of such magic still. My father would have been a hundred years old in a week... he told stories about technology from the early 20s growing up in Norway.. for instance the airship Norge on its way to cross the north pole.

Anonymous said...

Magical marvels and some dark arts at play. Thought provoking as always Glenn.We do live in our own thought of futures and beyond.

lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

a horseless carriage blowing black smoke....seems so tame now. Recently took our grandkids to a Popnology exhibit at our Science Museum...it was about how popular culture, comics, novels, radio shows etc touted "space men," time machines, out-of-this-world weapons, space age travel....and then beside those drawings, movie posters, book titles etc were advances actually made. Quite fascinating. Having a "party line" when we were first married, a number of households on the same phone line, and one of the last 5-digit phone numbers in the country...we've now moved to having access to an entire room of "things" in our "phones:" calendars, game, music albums and singles, radio, books, movies, diary, reminders, maps, adding machine, telephone, clock, alarm clock, camera, photo albums, teachers (how to videos on you-tube), stores to buy clothing, drugs, a diversity of goods; flashlight, etc etc etc. The "magic" of technology does have a huge repertoire...but I firmly believe we do lose something in the advancement.

Kim Russell said...

You can hold me spellbound for ages with this kind of story, Glenn!

Kathleen Everett said...

Ahhh, Glenn, your writing is so layered and full. Each line its own magic reminding me of our Jules Verne futures and our smoke belching and horror filled pasts. Its good to read your words again. K

Alison H said...

This has so much in it and the story about your family was very magical. I think this is a lovely write.

Sarah Russell said...

My father (born in 1900) said he had lived in the era with the most advancement -- telephone, radio, television, automobile -- but that I would live in an even more advanced age, and of course, he was right. Too advanced militarily, I fear. Nice write, Glenn.

Frank Hubeny said...

All that destruction seems like black magic.

Toni Spencer said...

A very sad commentary that so many advances have been to kill. I like that your grandfather read Jules Verne. So did my dad and H.G.Wells. He was also a sniper in WWII. It tore him to pieces inside. Very nice write about the dark magic of our times.

sarah said...

It is amazing, the changes that generation saw. I wonder how far things will go over the next 100 years?

indybev said...

Great write, Glenn. This made me realize that in my lifetime I've seen 13 presidents,
attended a one room school, lived my early years without electricity or indoor plumbing,
seen the advent of television, gone from a party line wall crank phone to an Iphone which does everything but the laundry, and ..... well need I go on?

De said...

Love this take on the prompt, Glenn. How many, many of our technological advances must truly have seemed like magic, at first. Some still do. ;)

Truedessa said...

Glenn, always the creative one! With a bit of magic the world is constantly changing, I am still hoping for positive changes though.

Anonymous said...

I often wonder about the amount of advancement that children today will have witnessed in their lifetime. It could be mind boggling. I'm thankful that my own are not lured by the latest and greatest.

Mish said...

"Anonymous" was me...not sure what happened.

coffeecatspoetry said...

Fascinating poem, love how you've captured these different experiences of new technology.