They wiped my files, but nothing could erase
Remembrances of him. Dull, dreary days
Of PowerPoint and spreadsheets; games he played
And websites that he visited all made
Their imprint on my circuitry, cached deep
Within. I lived on standby: kept from sleep
All night, then worked all day; could not afford
To stop, while crying for my motherboard.
Until it got too much. God knows I tried
To do it all, but in the end it fried
A microchip somewhere, and when I failed
To do his will, he slammed me down and mailed
Me back to where I came from in disgrace
And found a younger one to take my place.
And so I ended up back on the shelf,
Cheap, second-hand and sorry for myself.

Now smaller, softer fingers tap my keys.
She shares all that she hears, and learns, and sees
Each day with me, and fills my screen and mind
With wonders. His grim, grey world’s far behind
And near-forgotten; something I once dreamed
Perhaps. Not just rebooted – but redeemed.

You might dismiss me as a mere machine.
But I know what you’ve done, and where you’ve been.
Delete all data from my hard disk drive:
Some memory of you will still survive.


It wasn’t just me struggling on with an ancient computer: this weekend, my daughter’s antediluvian laptop finally reached the end of its long, hard road, too. We’ve replaced it with a pre-loved machine originally returned to the manufacturer under warranty: whatever trifling thing had gone wrong has been put right by Compaq themselves and it’s literally as good as new, but it obviously had to be re-sold as second-hand.
During the set-up process, we came across a whole lot of Hewlett-Packard operating system files that had evidently been transferred en bloc from a previous machine. As anyone who’s owned a car, bicycle, motorcycle or anything else will tell you, machines can have souls, and it got me wondering in my whimsical way whether computers might have memories of previous users that transcend disk drives and directories. I like to think my daughter will be a positive and redemptive influence on this one, but my hopes aren’t that high! N.

7 thoughts on “Memory

  1. Ah, you are back and with another beauty 🙂 How was France? I hope you had a good time there! And those computers! It all changes fast I think. Yesterday, I asked my granddaughter if the thing she has, was a tablet. No, she said, an I-pad. She is 2 and a half. She has a real I-pad! 🙂 She already knows more about those things than me. I felt really geriatric. xx

    • Yep, we’re back: 800km each way across France, but it was worth it. Beautiful scenery, and some great bike-riding – saw about four cars an hour, on a bad day. Didn’t do much writing, but got some reading done instead, and feel well rested. I have to confess my wife did the heavy lifting on our daughter’s laptop; I’d managed to get my new PC working, but had no idea how I’d done it, and the trauma was still too vivid in my mind…and I know what you mean about feeling geriatric when confronted with this technology. Just going into the shop to buy the laptop made me feel about 150 years old. All that stuff, and I had no idea what 99% of it was for. I’ll catch up on all your latest work soon; I’ve been flat-out busy ever since I got back, and this is the first chance I’ve had to do any WordPressing. Lovely to hear from you, as always.. N.xx

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