Valediction for a Valve Radio

  • After the piano, the valve radio was the second most-important audio icon in my childhood home. Though youngest of three boys, i was the first in my family to discover ‘Caroline’ pirate radio, in the mid 60’s.

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    The old radio knob grasped and turned right.
    Mysterious, that emerald lotus-like light
    slowly lit-up: a hum emerged, energy slowly
    unlocked – this audio moment holy:
    dial names held my devotion solely.
    On Tintawn carpet I kneeled in adoration,
    thrilled with discovery of each new station.
    A herringboned tattoo on short trousered knees
    ransomed by pop pirate and Motown melodies.

    Boyish buccaneer pressed ear
    against loudspeaker latticed fabric, not to hear
    plummy parental accents, safe and assured
    but chirpy pirate pop choices: moored
    ships tossed on high seas, lured
    audio-adventures for a wireless “pop picker”.
    Rear slats showed the fallible flicker
    and glow of glass valves, this boy blissed
    when tidal reception returned from maritime mist…

     

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