All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace by Richard Brautigan

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All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace by Richard Brautigan "Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all." John F. Kennedy, May 21, 1963 (676) In his poem "All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace," published in 1968, Richard Brautigan places the reader in a future realm: a sparkling utopia "where mammals and computers live together in mutually programming harmony" (1). He draws us in by juxtaposing images of nature, man and machine that challenge us to imagine this new world. In essence, Brautigan's poem is a supplication for that dream world, but to the modern reader it can be a land of irony. Imagine a "cybernetic ecology"—a place were silvery electronic wires run along a river, or where mountains are…show more content…
Accordingly, "All Watch Over By Machines of Loving Grace" is a romantic supplication for a place where computers or "machines of loving grace" are symbolic for shepherds. Moreover, the time of which we live in "mutually programming harmony." is symbolic of a "Golden Age" where humans and animals live "watched over" in peaceful accord with machines. In addition, the poem contains a satirical, biblical allusion. Brautigan writes, "where mammals and computers/ live together in mutally/ programming harmony." These lines draw a sharp comparison to the famous passage Isaiah 11.6, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." This passage refers to peace on earth, the very subject of Brautigan's poem. The reader could conclude that the dangerous beasts made gentle are symbolic of the violent ways of man at its end. Also, the "kid" refers to the new technology of computers, who watch over us in loving grace. Yet, there is an irony in analyzing this poem as pastoral. The modern reader can also view the poems theme as a dark satire. Brautigan's enthusiastic tone in lines such as, "I like to think (and/ the sooner the better!), (right now please!), and (it has to be!)," relate to a

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