Posted by: “Dennis” mydogplato
Sun May 24, 2009 4:18 pm (PDT)Title of a tremendous poem by Sarah Teasdale as well as to a Ray Bradbury short story, Bradbury, who had an eye foor beauty and ambience. The sentiments of both quite appropriate to Memorial Day. Teasdale’s poem is here. Bradbury’s complete text is at the link following:
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
Bradbury’s short story has not one human being in the story. Nothing but Bill Gates automated house conceived at about the same time as Gates. Bradbury, ahead of his time…and Gates’ father. A story as moving as the poem, surprisingly, the whole short text is available below:
In the living room the voice-clock sang,
get up, seven o’clock!
clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness.
eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two
coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.
“Today is August 4, 2026,” said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling, “in the city of
Allendale, California.” It repeated the date three times for memory’s sake. “Today is Mr.
Featherstone’s birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita’s marriage. Insurance is payable, as are
the water, gas, and light bills.”
Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes.
no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The
weather box on the front door sang quietly: “Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today…”
And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing.
Outside, the garage chimed and lifted its door to reveal the waiting car. After a long wait
the door swung down again.
At eight-thirty the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. An aluminum wedge
scraped them into the sink, where hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and
flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and
emerged twinkling dry.
, sang the clock,
cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached
runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust. Then, like mysterious invaders, they
popped into their burrows. Their pink electric eyes faded. The house was clean.
rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a
radioactive glow which could be seen for miles.
. The sun came out from behind the rain. The house stood alone in a city of
with scatterings of brightness. The water pelted windowpanes, running down the charred west
side where the house had been burned evenly free of its white paint. The entire west face of the
house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here,
as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood
in one titanic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of a thrown ball,
and opposite him a girl, hands raised to catch a ball which never came down.
The five spots of paint—the man, the woman, the children, the ball—remained. The rest
was a thin charcoaled layer.
The gentle sprinkler rain filled the garden with falling light.
. The garden sprinklers whirled up in golden founts, filling the soft morning air
Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles (Toronto: Bantam Books, 1985), 166-172.