Poetic Licence

New Riddle for Modern Times: ILLUSTRATION BY MICHAEL HEATH
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The Independent Culture
A survey this week reveals that farmers have voted the mobile phone their top tool, ahead of computers and crop technology advances. This coincides with news that mobile phones are increasingly being used to run everything from football violence to June's City riot in London

The businessman makes love to me for hours

And drones his long sweet nothings in my ear

I threaten him with breaking up, he cowers

I'd cost him very dear

Much smaller than my clumsy predecessors

I overpower the quietness of stopped trains

By twittering like electronic birdsong

While microwaving brains.

I know the secret names which lovers whisper

And all the darkened corners where they meet

I hear their fevered pledges and betrayals

And yet remain discreet.

If captured and interrogated later

I won't repeat their bills and coos, not I

If pressed I may divulge a time or number

But not the words or why.

A football ruckus or a city riot

Of course, I cannot start one on my own

But there among the brickbats, masks and poles

I'll grace the battle zone

My fastest runners fly like unseen pigeons

Who sing their signals, shattering the peace

To sow confusion slipping through the buildings

And past the lines of police

The farmer loves the harvest that I bring him

The seeds of information which I yield

And broadcasts them to hilltop, house or haybarn

From far out in the field.

Tactless, I'll think nothing of intrusion

Distracting speeding drivers in their cars

My common little voice despised by many

In restaurants and bars

My subtle shape and smoothness so alluring

A girl may want me ... more so than a man,

To hold me firmly during lonely journeys

And use me as she can

What am I?

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