Posted by: John Looker | 5 February, 2017



This conference – by videophones –
would stop Marco Polo in his tracks,
take the wind out of Columbus’ sails,
and has messed up meal times
in five separate time zones.

Dinner in Shanghai
but breakfast on Wall Street.
Luncheon in London’s City
and in Frankfurt am Main. 
Tea in Mumbai.

Listen! … so what do you think?
There it is again:
the delicate sound of a glass
on a glass – a clink,
a disembodied clink!

© John Looker 2017

via Mercury: by John Looker — Bonnie McClellan’s Weblog


‘Mercury’ appears today in the International Poetry Month which runs annually during February and I am most grateful to Bonnie McClellan for selecting this poem of mine.

I would recommend following Bonnie McClellan’s Weblog – throughout February you can find a daily poem; the theme is consistent but of course the poets have widely differing approaches.

(My collection The Human Hive looks at life through work, down the ages and round the globe.)


  1. This appealed to me on many fronts. I love the stretch of it – historically and geographically, and the mind-blowing intimacy of the clink of glass on glass across the airwaves.


    • I’m so glad it struck you that way; thanks so much for commenting Hilary.


  2. You’ve taken something we hardly even think about and shown it to be amazing. Thanks also for pointing to McClellan’s website.


  3. Wonderful! Shared on FB 🙂


  4. A great comment on communications in the digital age, when we’re able to share the present split-second globally regardless of time zones, right down to the disembodied clink of glass on glass. You’ve illustrated this so deftly, John. ‘Mercury’ is an impressive poem.

    My very best,



  5. Forgive me but I don’t know how else to contact you! I understand you are possibly producing a book of the late Cynthia Jobin’s poetry so perhaps you can help me with a little problem. I ran a blog called Simply Elfje ( which is presently dormant but still online and I am in the process of producing a book of the blog. Cynthia contributed to the blog and I would like to include one or possible two of her Elfje in the book. I have tried contacting her sister but so far have had no reply. I wondered if you could advise me either by granting permission or putting me in touch with someone who can. I can be contacted via the comments system on Simply Elfje. My name is Elizabeth Leaper, known as Libby. Thank you.


  6. Enjoyed this John. This time around, I appreciated the construction of the poem. And for some reason, until this reading, I hadn’t thought about the title – I get it now, though I won’t spoil it for other readers!


    • Hello Andy – thank you for commenting, several time zones ahead!


  7. Ah, Mercury, who moves around faster than the speed of light, eh? Which rises as temperatures rise, and orbits way too close to the sun. What a tangle of meanings you can be, John.


    • Thanks again, Tom, that’s most kind.


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