Ode to changing a plug and other poems

April 14, 2009

Please leave a message after the beep

Please leave a message after the beep

With their Poetry Season on the horizon, the BBC have thrown down a fabulous gauntlet: take a piece of boring and functional text, such as the instructions on how to change a plug, or how perfectly to roast a chicken and change those commands into verse. You can read the glorious article in full here, including the efforts of Ian McMillan, Niall O’Sullivan and Wendy Cope. Meanwhile, and after our legless chair odes, we thought we’d give it a pop here at the SPL, taking instructions from our answering machine manual on how to record our outgoing message ~


 – To record your outgoing message, speak clearly 15 – 20cm from the in-built microphone
– Read all the steps before you begin recording
– Press and hold the STOP button. Your BT Response 15 Plus will beep and display ‘r’.
– Keep holding down the STOP button and speak your message into the microphone.
– When you have finished speaking, release the STOP button. Your BT Response 15 Plus will beep, play back your message, then beep to confirm the recording. It will then return to ‘answer on’ mode.
– To re-record your message, repeat this procedure.


A hand-span away, and already well-read,
you talk the talk,
holding stop till done. Stop. 
The answer? A sharp beep
and your own phone voice, telling you
what you already knew.

We want to hear yours!

4 Responses to “Ode to changing a plug and other poems”

  1. […] reflection, the poem about our answering machine doesn’t do the challenge justice. The point was to make boring tasks jouncy and rhyming, so […]

  2. No apologies. 🙂

    Playing music on the iPod Shuffle

    The Text:
    1) Plug the earphones into iPod Shuffle and place the earbuds in your ears
    2) Slide the three-way switch from OFF to play in order or shuffle. Playback begins.

    The Poem:

    Luddites instructions for the iPod Shuffle.

    Phones for your ears
    Buds for them too
    Plug one in the Shuffle
    Plug two inside you

    {Be sure these are correct
    or discomfort could occur.
    But please see a specialist
    if these discomforts recur.}

    Slide the switch off of off
    Slide it up to one of “order”
    or “shuffle” as your choice,
    this will start your ‘tape recorder’.

    Music will erupt
    from the buds within your ears.
    (And if this hasn’t happened
    you’ve fulfulled your luddite fears…)

  3. spl5 Says:

    That’s the spirit! Thanks David!

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