Analysis of A World Where News Traveled Slowly by Lavinia Greenlaw
Lavinia Greenlaw’s nostalgic poem “A World Where News Traveled Slowly,”
captivates readers with its brilliant description of the evolution of
communication. The poem is chronologically ordered, giving us the
effect of how communication moved through the ages. The modern poem is
written in three stanzas each describing a different form of
communication. Starting from the time when electronics never existed
to the current information age. The fashion is which the poem is
written, takes the reader on a journey that lasts centuries.
The first stanza talks about the old fashioned way of communication.
People living far away carefully sent handwritten letters to each
other. These letters were taken by horse rider to their destination.
It is implied, importantly that these letters were mainly sent “while
the head had to listen, the heart could wait.” That is at extremely
important times and not just for insignificant banter. These lines
imply that personal letters were not the prime objective of the post.
It was for example at important times such as during war, that people
The second stanza is maybe a few hundred years later, in the seventeen
hundreds, during the “French Revolution.” It describes a new quicker
way of communication. This is still old fashioned and unheard of for
the modern day man. It is the time of the “telegraph,” and the
“semaphore.” This stanza implies that it was not an easy task and was
yet difficult and hard to manage. “It still took three men with all
their variables….to read record and pass the message on.” This
indicates that communication at this stage is still not an easy
occurrence. However, the line “judgment of swing in a vertical arm,”
has a double meaning. Literally, it refers to the physical movement
involved in a semaphore and how it was interpreted based on the
movement of the arm. The line it can also be argued refers to the
progress made in science during the French Revolution and in this case
the vertical arm could symbolize a pendulum. The Judgment of swing of
a pendulum is calculated using complex physics – perhaps people of the
time like Leonardo Da Vinci were only just starting to make these
calculations around this period.
The last stanza represents the modern day in which we live. It is the
one we can relate to and mentions what...