Saturday, February 25, 2006

Two Poems


The language of knowledge is obscure and strange,
The words of each field span the lexicon's range.
But stranger by far are the words which we say,
They have different meanings at work or at play!

Chemists have nickel, but never a dime,
They have their solutions which each lack a crime,
Their compounds have rings though they've never been wed,
They speak much of Ethyl but never of Fred.

Musicians have keys which can open no locks,
Their organs have swell shoes, but never swell socks.
No edges they sharpen, their strings never knotted;
It's not I and J, but their notes which are dotted.

Mathematicians have focus (no lens),
Planes without pilots, points without pens,
Fields but no forest, no stars in their space,
And umpires won't deal with their kind of base.

The geologists all have their faults but no guilt,
Plates not for dinner, but for mountains once built;
Strikes without runs, their dips aren't wet,
And beds they don't sleep in - no, their thickness they get.

The physicists manage their work with no pay;
The philosophers ponder their act but no play;
The lawyers have scales that were never on fins;
Anthropology races, but nobody wins.

Beware, then, or you might just verbally fault
When you ask your neighbor to pass you the salt,
Your simplest comment could then be revealed
As a technical statement in some other field.

November 7&9, 1991
/*reprinted by permission of the author*/

Knock Knock
"...Christians should be awakened by hammers"
"The Point of a Pin" by G. K. Chesterton

"...Whoever knocks..." St. Luke 11:9

The knock of a hammer (so Chesterton said)
Is better than bells to wake Christians from bed.

A tool of ho tekton1: of Joseph the just,
The worker who with His own Son God did trust,
And He who "hacked" all (bara2 is the right word) -
Learned at Joseph's own bench, where two hammers were heard.

The thoughts of His mother awoke with the din
Recalling the knocking at Bethlehem's inn;
The knocks of the shepards came later that night
And scientist-kings who had followed starlight.

The Builder told stories He carefully planned
Of a house built on rock and another on sand...
Gifts given for asking, the searchers, the found,
The unguessed response to the hand-on-door sound.

Then were hammered the nails binding hands to the wood -
The death they arranged on the Friday called Good -
A sword through the heart of the one who stood near,
His will ratified by His mother so dear.

But knocks came unlooked-for, and broke Sunday gloom
As sunrise3 reporters brought news from the tomb.
The Builder at heart-doors is hammering still
With answers and gifts if to open you will.

So door-knocks and hammers say "Christians awake!
There's work to be done, and a world to remake."

June 10, 1994
/*reprinted by permission of the author*/

(Yes, everyone complains: "a poem with footnotes?" Hee hee.)

[1] This is Greek for "the builder" usually more specifically translated "the carpenter" (Mark 6:3).

[2] This is the Hebrew verb used for "create" in Genesis, which apparently has the meaning of "to hack or slash" according to Fr. Stanley L. Jaki (see his Genesis 1 Through the Ages). This indicates to me: (1) God did it easily (as an artist might say, "I just dashed this poem off" or a programmer, "Oh, I just hacked the code together in a few hours." (2) It means that He "cut" it off from Himself, that is, the creation is "contingent" and not at all part of the divine essence, it exists separate from Him though still dependent on Him. Remarkable how much one can get into such a simple word.

[3] Or you might wish to read this as "Son-rise"


At 26 February, 2006 15:45, Anonymous Anonymous said...


who's the author, author?


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