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My Life as a Clairvoyant

Something quite strange happened to me the other day, related to my previous blog entry about the poem “A Martian Sends A Postcard Home”.

Once, maybe 10 years ago, I read an article about the Martian poets. I didn’t remember whom it was by, and I didn’t remember that they were called Martian poets. In fact, I thought they were called extra-terrestrial poets. All I remembered was that the poem observed someone picking up a telephone after it rang and viewing that as the telephone crying for help and being soothed by gentle talking into its mouthpiece. I didn’t remember the author of the article or the name of the poet or where I’d read the article.

Occasionally, over the years, I’ve googled “telephone” + “extraterrestrial” + “poem” but never succeeded in tracking down the poem I recalled.

The other night I wanted to write a blog entry about how some people look at the bailout as a travesty involving saving the people who least need saving, and I thought about how in that poem I once read the poet looked at the telephone as a crying life form that needed soothing, totally but plausibly misperceiving what was happening. Who, I wondered, was right — the people who looked at the bailout and the restoration of the status quo as normal because they were used to life on financial earth, or those who looked at it as abnormal?

So I started googling more seriously and eventually tracked down the poem. It was by Craig Raine, a name I didn’t recognize at all, and it was called “A Martian Sends A Postcard Home”, and the original article I read may have been by James Fenton in the New York Review of Books.

The reason I hadn’t found it before was because the poem didn’t explicitly contain the word “telephone”

Then I cut and pasted the poem into my blog entry.

That night I started reading the latest issue of the New Yorker, Mar 30th, and there, inside, was a two-page short story by Craig Raine. I got up to check that it really was the same name I’d discovered that morning.

Something synchronicitous like that but much much stranger happened to me once before, but that’s another story.

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