Poetic Licence: A Brief History Of Morse

After 160 years of helping to save lives, Morse code was officially replaced worldwide this week by satellite and ground-based technology. The system, devised in 1840 by the American portrait painter Samuel Morse, will no longer be used for maritime distress signals.

Dots and dashes didit didit

Did it in the films

And way out in the woolly west

Awaiting freight from Santa Fe

A marshall in the midday sun

Stands apprehensive with a gun

As sagebrush miles along the track

The buzzards squatting on the poles

Hear signals whisper down the wires

Past cactus, cowskulls, gopher holes

Where tumbleweed goes rolling by

And three bad hombres wait to die...

Dots and dashes didit didit

Did it down the line

When Mister Morse tapped out his test

"What hath God wrought!"

The sentence stayed

Unanswered by the snoozing past

Until the future spoke at last

And wagons came. And men and mines

Then motor cars and longer lines

Spread out across the yawning land

'Til progress had the upper hand.

Dots and dashes didit didit

Did it later on.

In radio blips from storm-tossed ships

Whenever wind and wave kicked up

And hapless vessels in distress

Their flares gone up, gone down, gone out

Still sent a desperate SOS

The universal rescue shout.

The dots and dashes didit didit

Did it for so long

It's odd to think they won't be there

Their crotchet/quavers in the air

Dot dot dot dash - the letter V

The wartime sign for Victory

Was Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

And Samuel Morse's rhapsody

The tune still buried where he hid it

Didit didit didit didit.