Love outside the lines

The BBC Radio 4 programme Saturday Live recently had a segment on the UK Government’s belated apology to Alan Turing for his 1952 conviction for homosexuality. The programme’s resident poet, Matt Harvey, penned this short but poignant poem to mark the occasion:

here’s a toast to Alan Turing
born in harsher, darker times
who thought outside the container
and loved outside the lines
and so the code-breaker was broken
and we’re sorry
yes now the s-word has been spoken
the official conscience woken
– very carefully scripted but at least it’s not encrypted –
and the story does suggest
a part 2 to the Turing Test:
1. can machines behave like humans?
2. can we?

Link to programme details. Scroll down for poem.


  1. joseph lehmann
    Posted September 24, 2009 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    What is it to be human? One inference from what had been done to Alan Turing is that laws are not identical to justice and terrible moral mistakes can be made by all human beings. Instead of the question ‘can we be human?’ I would suggest as an outcome the question: ‘can we better accept the other who is different from us?’ Is the story of Alan Turing being taught in schools in the UK? I think that it is very much relevant to our time too.

  2. Posted September 24, 2009 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I like that poem and it makes a good point.

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