Friday, June 17, 2011

The BBC and Richard Brautigan's All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

There is a new promising BBC series that takes its name from Richard Brautigan's famous poem: "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace."   As the tagline for the series goes, it is a "series of films about how humans have been colonised by the machines they have built. Although we don't realise it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers."  Here is the amazing Brautigan poem, first published in 1967, followed by an interesting trailer for the new series.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

   I'd like to think (and
   the sooner the better!)
   of a cybernetic meadow
   where mammals and computers
   live together in mutually
   programming harmony
   like pure water
   touching clear sky.

   I like to think
   (right now, please!)
   of a cybernetic forest
   filled with pines and electronics
   where deer stroll peacefully
   past computers
   as if they were flowers
   with spinning blossoms.

   I like to think
   (it has to be!)
   of a cybernetic ecology
   where we are free of our labors
   and joined back to nature,
   returned to our mammal brothers and sisters,
   and all watched over
   by machines of loving grace.
                    Richard Brautigan


I'm still busy recovering literally and psychologically from last week's reading and book launch for Past All Traps.  While I catch up, here are two haiku by Allen Ginsberg from "Four Haiku," which originally appeared in his Journals: Early Fifties Early Sixties:

I didn't know the names
of the flowers—now
my garden is gone.

Looking over my shoulder
my behind is covered
with cherry blossoms.


This week's feature poem comes from Lilliput Review #160, November 2007.  I myself walk through a city landscape every day, see exactly what is described in this poem everyday, and I didn't write this poem.

I'm so very glad Shawn Bowman did.

two wings per pigeon
and this is where they gather
on a wire
in the city
Ah, what do I know
Shawn Bowman

at my gate
the artless pigeon too
sings "It's spring!"
translated by David G. Lanoue


Send a single haiku for the Wednesday Haiku feature.  Here's how.

Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 106 songs


Wrick said...

wow - it is great to read that Richard Brautigan poem. yeah, the trailer... looks like a strange and normal-as-usual oddity series... eerie.

...and you say you're recovering with all that running through your skull? good recovery energy on you - machines or not.

altho i must also say - excellent poem choices all the way through - recovery just may be possible with this kind of reading.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Very glad to say that the recovery prognosis is going along well - thanks for the kind words, very much appreciated.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm now wondering what a cybernetic meadow would look like.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Charles, I think we are a lot closer to knowing than RB was 50 years ago when he wrote this ...

Anonymous said...

here is the system that I operated in 1961-62

for Main Navy Rickover was my boss...

I switched to the 4 to 12 pm shift (to get away from that moronic IBM Kulchur
and went to school during the day and studied Existential ism

just ghot a chill in my boddhi AND a tear in my eye listening to Roy Orbison in this clip

as for Richard Brautigan I met him in a saloon once
when I was hitch-hiking around. He bought me a beer

this was before I dropped out

one of the things that I found out after droppingbackin was (and this was in about 2002)

was thartRichard blew his brains out ! Left a note

(that I think it was his daughter who found it):
"Messy, isn't it?"

also came to find out
many many many of the people who I knew 7 admired, read and corresponded with were also deaD!

so, I wrote this "shortie"

searching the stars
for intelligent life
damn little of it here


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Bowing east,
toward you,
& all,

All this funny little punch cards,with the funny little

Messy, indeed.

Anonymous said...


phunny as a crutch!

those last punch-cards and those hanging chards
(in Florida) not too long ago
got us into the mess that we are now in.

I'm now waiting for The Computer that will 'get me off'

Theresa Williams said...

I've always found this to be one of the most curious of Brautigan's poems. The BBC has an interesting take on it. What do you think, Don? What was B. saying about technology? He loved movies but hated TV. His imagination was uncommonly rich. Your Issa selections are stunning. Nice connection with the pigeons in Shawn's poem, too.