Friday, April 06, 2007

Babel

I.

All men, together, piled stone on stone,
Meaning to build a tower to the sky.
God frowned to see them stand so near his throne,
And planned a trick to knock their work awry.

So to the tribes he gave distinctive tongues,
Stripping away the power to converse
Except among the group where one belongs.
Wasn't that a fine and clever curse?

II.

Sheer myth. The power is ours. We wield the gift
To make new sounds, new words, new ways of speech.
Living apart, our verbal islands drift
And over time the gap defies our reach.

Just as it's in our blood to dream and build,
Until unheard-of towers scrape the sky,
Our need for play with words must be fulfilled;
Language must grow, or surely it will die.

III.

These very words will someday need translation.
Poetry writes its message in the sand
Of shifting particles, a brief vibration
Of airy waves that whisper something grand.

But humankind goes on, demanding song
To suit the strange new languages they spout.
It's what we do. The drive for jive is strong.
So twist your tongue around and shout it out.

4 comments:

Ergo said...

Very nicely written poem.

JohnJEnright said...

Ergo, thank you.

Timothy said...

I agree, that was lovely! keep up the good work, i really enjoy the site!

JohnJEnright said...

Thanks, Timothy!