I wonder how many of you reading this grew up, as I did, with no central heating, one black & white TV channel, one phone (attached to a cord so you had to sit next to it), no washing machine, dishwasher or freezer? That was my childhood. The net was something we hit balls over and it would be many many years before today’s technology changed our lives. For the better? Or maybe not?

Looking back, it’s astonishing to think what incredible things have been achieved in our lifetime.

In fifty years’ time will our children and grandchildren look back at today and witness the kind of changes in their lives that we have seen in ours?

In my writers’ group (watfordwriters.org) we were asked to come up with a poem or story that encapsulated the past 100 years. I decided to write a poem about all the inventions that had taken place between 1918 and 2018. Not quite all – but all of those that I could fit into the word count!

Here it is. My Ode to Invention. Which of these inventions has made the most difference to your life? Let me know what you think!

Ode to Invention

Who would have dreamt at the end of the war

what wonderful things we’d have in store?

In 1918, although unintended,

the radio circuit was invented.

In 1919 what do you know –

we then had short wave radio.

And at breakfast, what did we love most?

A cup of tea with pop up toast.

If your Tommy gun, invented in 1920,

went off for fun – we had Band Aid in plenty.

In 1923 cars on the road were a very rare sight,

but they still invented the traffic light!

Cinema goers were in seventh heaven

When the talkies arrived in 27.

Antibiotics in 28 –

sadly, for many, came too late.

But thanks to Fleming and penicillin

most of us can carry on living.

From 39 to 45

we were lucky to survive.

Who was to know when the war began

the evil that man would do to man?

1947 made parents happy

with the invention of the disposable nappy.

Health care was in a very bad state

till the NHS started in 48.

Hardly an invention, but nevertheless,

where would we be with no NHS?

1950s rock music would not have gone far

without the first electric guitar.

And with your transistor in 52

you could take your music along with you.

In 53, Watson and Crick they say,

discovered the secret to DNA

and there was colour TV in the USA.

If  your heart was dicky in 59

the Pacemaker was invented just in time.

Sex had never been much fun

till the pill came along in 61.

And things were moving on apace

with Yuri Gagarin – first man in space.

In 67 you could have fun

eating your microwave dinner for one.

And then what joy in 69 –

man walked on the moon for the very first time.

That was also the year of Concorde’s first flight,

and at that time its future looked bright.

In 73 we heard a new tone –

the ringing of the mobile phone.

No more having to sit in the hall,

waiting to get that longed for call.

Now you could get that call in a show

or anywhere else you happened to go.

1n 78 the Browns got their wish –

a daughter conceived in a petri dish.

The CD player in 82

replaced vinyl records for all but a few.

In 1990 we won’t forget

the invention of the internet.

Thanks to Timothy Berners-Lee,

the World Wide Web changed history.

In 91 we could go far,

thanks to satnav in the car.

In 98 the world had a thrill,

with the invention of the little blue pill.

In 2010 Steve Jobs made us glad,

with his invention of the Apple iPad.

Facebook too deserves a mention,

voted the most favourite invention.

It’s 2018. Let’s shout hooray

for another invention – this poem today!

100 years of history –

without these inventions where would we be?

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems