Poems of the Week

The Listeners

by Joe Crocker

“One in 10 US police departments can now access videos from millions of privately owned
home security cameras without a warrant.”
The Guardian

(with apologies to Walter de la Mare)

“Is there anyone there?” said the traveller.
We were there. We saw and we heard.
As the gate and the plate in the gravel were
weighing him up, we referred

to our database. Friends and relations
are listed—their likes and their hates.
We’d have turned on the heating, switched stations,
made sure that the milk was in date.

But we can’t find a match in our records.
He’s come with a horse! And no phone.
The computer says “No” so we’ll check all
the locks. We are home here alone.

He is certain that he was expected.
His anguish does not go unheard.
We’ve recorded his message and texted
to tell you that he kept his word.