Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Metaphor Programme [*]

A spook-eye is watching the world wearing
its cloak and dagger. It is a ghost
haunting whoever hides behind their masks
then scans for the frightened flight from those
dark faces. If silence falls the spook-ear hears
it all, listening out for the eventual howl of scared
subterfuge and scheming. There's no escape
down fast river runs and mountain sides as
words reveal their literal anchorage in the
whispers wafting out of woodwork, those
skeletons terrorising the insides of cupboards.
It is all a web of lies and deceit uncovered -
language that now twists crannies and nooks,
unravelling through metaphoric spooks.

[*] According to today's The Observer, a branch of the US intelligence service called the Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity is devising software through 'The Metaphor Programme' that will listen into global digital chatter to identify and interpret cultural metaphoric references that might indicate potential terrorist thinking and, presumably, plotting.

Orwell didn't quite see Big Brother being so concerned with Poetics.


  1. I wonder what Orwell would think of modern spy tactics! This piece is one of my favourites so far. It may seem simplistic to say so, but the alliteration adds such a dark edge,snaking through the centre.
    I often wonder who is out there interpreting our everyday lives and twisting them. The fact that a machine is going to "interpret" our metaphorical chat is bizarre and seems to belong to science fantasy, rather than science fiction!
    I haven had time to digest today's observer yet, but will go straight to that article when I do!

  2. I have just read the piece - it really is something! What will they come up with next, I wonder. The mind boggles...