Hey, I was wondering what everyone's interpretations of the final stanza of 'Please Hold' could be. I imagine it'd be representing the the loop the narrator is stuck in as everyone only gives him the same response when he questions it. I'd be interested in seeing what everyone else's take on this is.
Yes, the narrator is definitely stuck in a loop. It’s conceivable that he could be going round in circles forever: suppose, for example, by some awful set of coincidences, that every time he got through to an agent, he was cut off? It has happened to me a number of times that I am waiting in a queue for half an hour or more and then when I get through, I am inexplicably cut off. Or at other times I am cut off even without getting through, as happens in the poem. Or sometimes there’s no one in the office but the phone computer hasn’t been changed from its working-hours message.
It’s a question of the customer’s not having any power in this situation. When I first encountered automatic telephone menus, I thought I could solve my problem by going to the office of the company in town to talk to someone, but I found they had moved out of town and were relying totally on computer-generated menus for communicating with customers in my area.
For further ideas on discussing Please Hold, you could consult my website ciaranodriscoll.com . There is also a very useful discussion of the poem in a book that has just been published by Peripeteia: The Art of Poetry Volume 3, by Neil Bowen and Others. It is available on Amazon.