Digital Memorial

Digital Memorial



Recent reports in the press and elsewhere point to a novel trend
Instead of erecting a tombstone or other such tangible shrine
The deceased, in advance, or their bereaved loved ones, in time
Have chosen a modern way for their lifetime’s work to transcend

Apparently we no longer live just in our everyday material sense
Our footprint on life reaches right up and enters into the ‘cloud’
And if others would know of all those deeds of which we think we’re proud
They should be made aware of what they were and similarly from whence

They thus can be informed of all those whose life we helped improve
And how in so many ways we facilitated much worthy change
Where our little efforts helped to bring about such serious gains
Or those, thanks to us, who found their burdens were lessened or removed

And where do our mourners find this great record of multiple achievement?
Normally it appears in an obituary, or some other published eulogy
But the digital memorial requires a great deal of electronic scrutiny
A much more complex appraisal amidst the process of bereavement

The daily paper’s death notice or the clergyman’s funeral oration
Are too limited to provide all that can be trawled on today’s social media
Whose various forms taken as a whole are large as an encyclopaedia
Thus Face Book, Linked In, Twitter, and YouTube each make their declaration

About the life of the deceased, in short messages, tweets, and clips encapsulated
Thus revealing to the world, in sound bites and Photoshop images
And snippets of communication in a million email messages
Like shards in a kaleidoscope our little life thus venerated

I’m not sure that the digital memorial is better than a graveside stone
And no matter what Big Data may tell of our life’s distinctive story
Of our dark days and sometimes even those of joy and glory
I prefer something more dignified than downloads from my phone!

Surely the best memorial that most people would truly respect
Would be recognition of our ‘real time’ presence among all those we loved?
And no matter how many followers clocked us from the cloud above
Our true friends’ joyous remembrance would the best we might ever expect

Ken Fisher

[The idea for this poem based on an item in the BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme on 8 May 2016]


One thought on “Digital Memorial

  1. Longevity! Permanence! ‘Dignified’ visual indeed. Visit that tombstone in 10 years and it’s likely to be where you last saw it. Visit the memorial via cyberspace in 10 years and…


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