A Poem Inspired by a Cell Phone

Don’t you just hate it when you’re at a concert, meeting, or church service, and someone’s cell phone rings, its computerized tones filling the room, breaking your concentration on the event? Now, people can download their favorite songs to their cell phones for everyone else to hear when they ring. One gal in my singing group has “Ode to Joy” on her phone. Occasionally, the cheerful strains of this melody accompany whatever song we’re practicing, and as luck would have it, it’s not in the same key.

My brother once had a song by his favorite rock band on his phone. When we attended his daughter’s dance recital several years ago, I suggested he turn it off so the orchestral strains of “Swan Lake” wouldn’t be augmented by the synthesized chords, guitar notes, and drum rolls of Van Halan’s “Jump.” Instead of gliding across the stage like swans on a clear, blue lake, the ballerinas would leap high in the air, not very swan-like.

Have you ever been at an event where you realized you forgot to turn off your cell phone? You don’t want to turn it off now because it will make noise, and that will be just as bad. Your phone isn’t even set to vibrate. You’re sitting in the middle row of a darkened theater. In order to get out so you can answer your phone, you have to crawl over a multitude of legs. How embarrassing would that be? All you can do is cross your fingers, bow your head, and pray the world doesn’t find out you’re a fan of Guns and Roses.

I’ve been there. I was at a poetry workshop when someone else’s cell phone rang, and that person hurried from the room to answer it. It was then I realized I’d forgotten to turn mine off. Fortunately, I’m not a fan of Guns and Roses, and my phone has a button on the top I can push to switch it to vibrate mode when it does ring, but I still felt self-conscious. This inspired the following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver.


The Blue Doorknob



”Ting a-ling, ting a-ling,” goes the cell phone.

With an apology, someone hurries from the room.

Better him than me, I think,

as I try to concentrate.

I forgot to turn mine off.

“What comes to mind when you think of a blue doorknob,” asks the poet.

The one in my pocket threatens to expose me

or inspire someone to write a poem.


Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

4 thoughts on “A Poem Inspired by a Cell Phone”

  1.  You have such a beautiful way of looking at things. Nice job. My poetry is much more Dr. Sues that's why I don't use it for anything besides therapy. Thanks for your thoughts.


  2. Hi Traci, there's nothing wrong with Dr. Seuss poetry. Some people may not like that kind of verse, but that's their problem, not yours. You should never be embarrassed by your style of poetry. Thank you for commenting.


  3. I like this post, Abbie. Cell phones are great when we need them, but when they ring at the wrong time — well I want to disappear. One time when I was at the doctor's office and he was telling me about my problem, and we were in discussion, my cell phone interrupted. I was sitting on the table,  clothed in paper, and could not reach my phone.

    All I could do was apologize. 


  4. Hi Glenda, that happened to me, too. I was lying on a table being examined by a nurse practitioner at my doctor's office. My cell phone rang, and it was in the pocket of my pants which were on a nearby chair, but I couldn't reach it. The nurse offered to let me answer it, but I told her it probably wasn't important and could wait until she was done. Thanks for posting.


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