hot, when you do something intense
Sometimes it chatters for no reason
Mine recently broke a fan,
from clutching too hard at its bearings
Sometimes it literally grades you,Or reports you to some higher power
Sometimes it cheers or jeers you;
The machine is a master of sarcasm
It's easy to say 'that's ridiculous,machines are not agents, only people are agents'
But if that's your thought then consider:
- We have no idea what agency is
- If we did we still wouldn't know how to spot it
- Our classifications are bullshit meant to shore up injustice
- Things can be more than one thing at once
A tree is a machine,A massive, intricate structure
Industrially framed in cellulose,
Billions on billions of moving parts
pumping nutrients, water, light and air
between earth and sky as needed
A tree is also a crowd,Each seed a child, each branch
A delicate communion of leaves,
A constellation of insects
Microbes, birds, and small mammals,
Garnished with lichens and moss.
No treeCould ever be void of life
And if you don't think a treeCan be an agent then
You need to pay more attention.
Stand quietly, patiently, with one for a while,
Touching and listening and watching.
And remember how old they can be,What, and how much, they have breathed
Of course, this is just an excuse to tell you about some of my favourite treesLike a rich woman showing you photos of her pets
Or a schoolboy describing his crush
He is a
poplar, probably as old
As the Victorian park he stands in,
So to sit or stand near him is to be wrapped
In every twist of his leaves,
One's attention always demanded.
She is an ash, perhaps even older,With a stern straight spine, downy with lichens,
That draws all the knots out of my yearning back
when I visit to lean it against her,
And one vast old hand, low to the ground,
Shielding her dell from the road by the school
So the insects that tend her can dance there in peace,
And I can bury my face in her leaves,And receive their fluttering kisses.
LookWhat I'm saying is
If I can date a tree,
Then the play in your station makes your TV a stage
And you act as a thespian, not out of will,
And it's theatre that you perform,
And your body, too, is an audienceA machine and an agent,
More than just you,
Multiple, listening, and reactive.