A poem entitled “Webinar” (written after an uncommonly bad day)

Good evening in Beijing, good morning New York, I’m pleased you could join us today.

I’ll turn on your microphone now just in case you have something useful to say.

And welcome to Chismayo out on the Horn in Somalia, so far away,

Good afternoon Aqaba out in the Gulf; it’s raining in London today.

We start at 10.30 – now what’s that you say Iqbal – temperature 38

I have to step out for a moment or two, I see a white van by the gate.

Just keep on chatting or open your mic – a good chance to build some rapport,

The sound you can hear is my doorbell, there is a delivery man at my door.

Sorry, I’m back now.  Are you hearing me? Hello? Have you gone for a walk?

Are you there? Are you listening? Oh I forgot I should click on that button to talk.

I’m sorry I just have to step out again, someone is calling my phone.

I’d better just answer,

“There’s nobody here”

“I’m working online on my own.”

“You’re having some difficulty joining the class?”

Your firewall is holding you back?”

“You’ve set up a proxy but that didn’t work?”

“I’m sorry I have to get back.”

That was Eduardo from Lima, Peru he’s having some problems today,

I’m hearing some very strange noises again, Adele have you something to say?

Adele we can’t hear you, so I recommend you type up your comments in chat,

I see some words forming, now keep it polite, please don’t use language  like that.

Not easy to hear me and when will we start? I’m too fast? Too loud and too quiet?

The people in Africa find me too slow, this chatbox resembles a riot.

What time will we finish? I can’t really say; if ever we start I’ve a hunch

With a stable connection and a westerly wind, we’ll surely be finished by lunch.

We’re waiting for people who’ve not yet arrived; I expected some would have appeared,

A little emoticon just popped up then and it popped down again, that was weird.

We’re waiting for latecomers …. I think I have said that before

but the number of messages calling for help in my inbox has reached 24

Ah welcome to George good to see you at last please show on the map where you are

Just use the pointer I see now that you are in Asia, no Europe….Dakar?

Good afternoon Bristol, before you proceed there’s a very strange noise on your line,

Perhaps put the dog in another room just for an hour or two – he will be fine.

Do you have a question Grace, your hand is raised… I’m listening now – standing by…

Thank you Adele but the word histrionic is spelled with an “I” not a “Y”.

Hello can you hear me? Hello are you there? Hello – my computer just froze.

I can’t join the session, it’s ended it says, so that then is that I suppose.

Dear participant as you may know our session went well, don’t you think,

But it stopped prematurely so I’ve rearranged for tomorrow, and here is the link.