Friday, December 2, 2016

I Wish I'd Written This

Children Unplug

By Tug Dumbly

Children unplug
this world isn’t virtual
dejack and eject
put down the control
don’t let a machine
hijack your mind
home invade
your nascent soul

Children unplug
this world’s not pixels   
the real liquid crystal’s
alive in that stream        
you don’t have to snap it
shoot or share it
your eyes are camera
to catch your dreams

Brother your fingers
and thumbs are wonders
hands to grip sticks  
shaped to fling stones
be dazzled be nuzzled
be roughed up by nature
get down in the dirt
of your earthy home

Sister you’re worth so much
more than devices’
iPhoney fantasias
of selfy esteem
those shuffling fields
of wilted-neck flowers
heads wired up
pinned to a screen

C’mon now kid
just put down the tablet
come out with your head up
check out the sky
pluck the buds from your ears
hear the birds of the earth
build bowers of beauty
in which to abide

Build bowers of beauty
nests of memory
a clandestine cave  
where sweet senses hive 
pluck the buds from your ears
hear the birds of the earth
and croaking creeks    
of creature cry  

Build bowers of beauty
nests of memory
come out with your head up
check out the sky
pluck the buds from your ears
hear the birds of the earth
and scroll to the end
having been alive 

I've introduced you to Tug before. Click here to refresh your memory. Doesn't pull any punches, this poet! And yet, with what beautiful language and images he makes his points. And with what passionate urgency! 

There's not a lot I need to add about this one, is there? The message is clear, and I can't see anyone arguing – nevertheless, it so much needs to be said.

The kids aren't going to discard their devices, of course. And what an irony that I first saw this poem on facebook, and now I'm sharing it more widely on the internet, where it will be appreciated by people using those very devices which we think we can no longer do without. Of course, many of us are on our laptops or even desktops, and will move away from them eventually. It's the tablets and phones that are so insidious; they are the things we can stay connected to pretty much non-stop. (Yes, I love mine, too.)

Well, it IS sad and horrifying if children and adolescents grow up permanently at a remove from the wonders of our natural world. It IS a real risk that they may too easily be manipulated and brainwashed by the stuff they ingest via the earbuds and screens. And, what happens when we are young shapes us for life – and therefore shapes the world.

That's one good reason for posting poems online!

But we may need to do a bit more than that. I think parents and teachers have a great responsibility – as always. So do we all. We are all the adults whom children are observing.

I am forever grateful to my Grandpa, who spent a lot of time with me, from my toddlerhood to his death when I was nine, going for walks and pointing out the many interesting and beautiful things we passed. I believe I have always loved nature – but perhaps that love was inculcated by my Grandpa and would not have existed otherwise. It's clear that he intended to impart it.

And it's true that, as we are often told, children learn by example. I suppose we might get our own heads out of the devices more often, and accompany the kids outside.

And please – share this post, or the link to it, all over the place!

Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.


  1. gracias for sharing this inspiring write, Rosemary. Tug Dumbly, huh? quite interesting !

    1. It IS a pseudonym, and it IS meant to be as naughtily (and self-deprecatingly) humorous as you might think. He is often wickedly funny in poetry too ... and also, as you see, capable of very serious messages indeed.

  2. Haha! Beautifully done! And will anyone read it who is not plugged in? Although I am rarely in earphones, I just bought a new pair. And--how did this happen?--I own a kindle, tablet, laptop, desktop and a half/smart phone! Read ex-teacher. Before I left teaching I was wishing the teens would be allowed to use the devices they carried as resources to bolster the skill of writing. But this other thing, where eyes and fingers and ears are always not where they are, that's scifi empty and scarey.

  3. aha...i felt the throb of pulse in every word uttered here...thanks for the share Rosemary :)

  4. This poem is so beautiful. I especially love his exhortation to "check out the sky". It is a sad fact that people are too plugged in to technology....and disconnected from each other. In all my years of looking after kids, I have always taken them into nature.....and it sticks with them. Thank you, Rosemary.

  5. Technology is a marvel as an information tool,info accessible at the end of your fingertips. The other side of the coin is terrifying.The phones that seem to be in constant use.( I hate phones)Mine is never turned on. You can only leave a message.The addiction to an artificial connectedness which in reality is a disconnectedness that affects all, old and young.As you wisely say it's the young who shape the future...and it is not looking good.No one has worked out a way yet of using an iphone when surfing.If it happens I'm out of here LOL. Excellent article Rosemary, addressing a topic that is crucial for the future of the planet.

  6. Thank you, Rosemary. I do have a desktop computer, and use it mostly for word and image creativity. All the rest, ear buds, to cell phone, don't exist in my world. If I want a 'fix', I go outside into Nature. And love it. I'm sure my grandchildren think I'm an old fuddy-duddy. That's okay as well,


  7. Oh, I like the way he presents his case. We all need to unplug. Not only the young but people of any age. By being connected to the internet, we definitely lose connections with the people around us and with the natural environment we live in. Kudos to the poet Tug! I hope his poem has a wide audience. Perhaps one to share in schools.

  8. I love this one True and beautiful I am going to share this with my children


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