9.11.2008

Poetry Friday




Below is a poem by Carl Sandburg, a poem whose home is within my mother's old copy of Honey and Salt, circa 1963, complete with marginalia and all. It set her back a whole two dollars ninety five cents.



Is Wisdom a Lot of Language?


Apes, may I speak to you a moment?
Chimpanzees, come hither for words.
Orangoutangs, let's get into a huddle.
Baboons, lemme whisper in your ears.
Gorillas, do yuh hear me hollerin' to yuh?
And monkeys! monkeys! get this chatter--

For a long time men have plucked letters
Out of the air and shaped syllables
And out of the syllables came words
And from the words cam phrases, clauses,
Sentences were born--and languages,
(The Tower of Babel didn't work out--
it came down quicker than it went up.)
Misunderstandings followed the languages,
Arguments, epithets, maledictions, curses,
Gossip, backbiting, the buzz of the bazoo,
Chit chat, blah blah, talk just to be talking,
Monologues of members telling other members
How good they are now and were yesterday,
Conversations missing the point,
Dialogues seldom as beautiful as soliloquies,
Seldom as fine as a man alone, a woman by herself
Telling a clock, "I'm a plain damn fool."

Read the dictionary from A to Izzard today.
Get a vocabulary. Brush up on your diction.
See whether wisdom is just a lot of language.

2 comments:

Mary Lee said...

Nice. Wisdom and language. Must ponder.

enc said...

I love poetry Friday.