To Television

Robert Pinsky

Not a "window on the world"
But as we call you,
A box a tube

Terrarium of dreams and wonders.
Coffer of shades, ordained
Cotillion of phosphors
Or liquid crystal

Homey miracle, tub
Of acquiescence, vein of defiance.
Your patron in the pantheon would be Hermes

Raster dance,
Quick one, little thief, escort
Of the dying and comfort of the sick,

In a blue glow my father and little sister sat
Snuggled in one chair watching you
Their wife and mother was sick in the head
I scorned you and them as I scorned so much

Now I like you best in a hotel room,
Maybe minutes
Before I have to face an audience: behind
The doors of the armoire, box
Within a box--Tom & Jerry, or also brilliant
And reassuring, Oprah Winfrey.

Thank you, for I watched, I watched
Sid Caesar speaking French and Japanese not
Through knowledge but imagination,
His quickness, and Thank You, I watched live
Jackie Robinson stealing

Home, the image--O strung shell--enduring
Fleeter than light like these words we
Remember in, they too winged
At the helmet and ankles.


My Interpretation


Initially when reading this poem I took in only some of the information. Reading the title I could gather the basic idea, however some of the lines in the poem I found irrelevant and didn't quite understand why they were put in the poem.

When I read the poem a second time I discovered that this poem is about television and the effect it has on our everyday life. When reading this poem you can really tell that this author shows the television as a person almost. Writing about how his father and sister were so drawn to it even though their mother/wife was severely suffering. The author than turns around and says that he found it sort of comforting to have the TV. set in his hotel room, right before a big show. This hints that he himself is possibly in show business, especially when he writes maybe minutes before I have to face an audience. Throughout this poem many of the lines refer to shows you would see just flipping through channels. For example Jackie Robertson stealing, and Oprah Winfrey reassuring. I think overall this poem is about just a general television and the many wonders that can be seen, both true and false. This poem made me think and realize how much television does affect ours lives and how I really feel about the things I see.

The vision I got while reading this poem was a man sitting in front of a television set, his mind open to it and the television open to invade his mind. At these lines,  Not a "window on the world" But as we call you, A box a tube, I began to see the image of an everyday TV. and how false it is, how unlike a window to the world is.