Thursday, June 5, 2014


Image borrowed from bing


“ Martin Luther King was the ultimate wordsmith, having incredible
descriptive powers, finding just the right words for the right moment.”
--Tim Roye.

There are those petulant few among us
to whom language
               comes easily;
                           able to read & write
                                       several languages fluently.
How many, I wonder,
                                        to be considered a linguist,
two or ten?

I have always envied them,
for after a brumous lifetime of communicative struggle,
                I am still striving
                to fully explore/exploit
                the vast parameters
of my native tongue. 

I once attempted to memorize
all the “A” words
in the dictionary--
but the task outdistanced me--
                                         my fervor &
                                         my intentions
fell flat,
became flaccid,
                            & b l e w away briskly
like gossamer wildflower chaff on a mid-day breeze. 

The Zealots claim 
that mankind is to blame
for his inability to understand “foreign” languages;
           you know the scene,
there in antiquity,
           after the Great Flood, 
humanity was united & spoke a single language.
                          Several of these groups migrated
                                    to the land of Shinar,
& began to construct a great city,
                                    called Babylon by some,
                                               Babel by others--
       the place, I guess where babbling began;

where those from that homogenous gaggle
decided to erect a behemoth tower
              in the middle of the city,
              a brick & mortar phallis,
thrusting higher & higher toward Heaven daily.
               As the story goes 
Old Jehovah didn’t dig their hubris,
               or their probing,
quickly approaching the buttocks of Heaven’s underside--

I mean more than just irritated,
                     God was pissed off;
                     so much so that he made a appearance
amongst them, which must have been a sight to see,
                     & with a wave of his godhead,
he confounded the speech of mankind.

The fatuous fahtay
dropped their iron utbuhs,
& in a fit of gurgling gepfiss,
they gathered all their kivnek & decepiffs,
loaded them onto their trusty owkvahs
along with the remnants of their zetbuss,
forcing them to abandon their sinful construction site;
to strike out, scatter, spread out all over
the foogah face of the earth, never
to embrace their prideful odemuh tendencies again. 

But Deus maximus est, 
because after that we were allowed
to enrich our new languages
with myriads of nuances,
                     & literature & art & religion
                                                   rebounded & blossomed,
& poetry strode forth in silver armor,
it’s literary lances festooned with Word Banners,
as language became beautiful again,
from haiku & bagatelle
                     to the length of the Iliad,
                     to the lyrical Song of Hiawatha,
from law books to holy texts,
wonderful Words made a comeback--

Thank great Zhygah for that.
As a poor poet worshipping
the vitcheenian magic of words,
I acknowledge that they remain forever
the koemoy of my forays
into verse. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


Brian Miller said...

ha. nice use of the Tower of Babel story...and a moment of creation for the downfall of our interesting aspect i wonder if anyone will write on...finding oneself in a foreign land and unable to speak the would be hard...and act of survival...the poems are victorious though, riding out with banners in all languages...i like that...smiles.

Anonymous said...

Glenn I must second what Brian said. Great ideas. It took me a bit of time to get through--having to go to my dictionary so often. But I've learned new wrds. As always your pieces are as lectures of information and poetry. Best>KB

Björn Rudberg said...

What a great source here Glenn.. the image of Babel and the language barriers.. I know a little about that one... he he.. great choice of words, and I second KB:s comment.. a dictionary might be needed...

Claudia said...

there are some geniuses who indeed found the right words for the right moments and with a few sentences changed how a whole nation felt.. i find this incredible...the power of with the ref to the tower of babel

Joseph Hesch said...

Wordslinging, tower of thesaureal, historical and aural goodness, Glenn.

Glenn Buttkus said...

Hey dear friends, my ninth stanza is rife with nonsense words (I love to make them up), endeavoring to illustrate that when mere words fail us, babble bursts forth in Lewis Carroll speak.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Such a wonderful piece Glenn--full of babble and story and although I don't know your body of work--I suspect that this piece is a sliver of your perhaps awesome level of intelligence--

Anonymous said...

Brilliant stuff, Glenn. I had to reach for the dictionary a number of times :)

I love how you always manage to educate and enlighten us with your work. Fantastic imagery too! You're never lost for words, are you, really? :)

Heaven said...

I also like the story of Babel and there were some new words for me ~ I see now that you are just playing with them or us, smiles ~ Our family has a gift for languages but its too late now for me to learn any more languages ~

Susan said...

Not going to my dictionary I delighted in some irreverent sexually charged babble and the revenge of mankind on God through the arts. What a story!

Anonymous said...

I have always envied them,
for after a brumous lifetime of communicative struggle,
I am still striving
to fully explore/exploit
the vast parameters
of my native tongue.

wow!!! my always blow my mind away with your words. We should collaborate on a poem together? what do you say? If you and I ever write a poem together the whole world will be silent and inspired.

I love this poem from you my friend. :)

Anonymous said...

I just have to echo what's been said. I can't add anything except the sound of my hands clapping.

kaykuala said...

In all seriousness that is your trade-mark, Glenn! Very exhaustive and detailed and lots of humor which I enjoy! Great write!


Anonymous said...

the great poets change the world - it is a gift they have, and one to hone.

Lasha M said...

That sure say a lot of history with words..... very nice and lovely

Mary said...

What a fascinating journey through the world of language, Glenn. Loved all of your references to the Tower of Babel story and its aftermath, some of them irreverent (smiles). However, your 'babbling' was very understandable and thought-provoking, as it usually is! And we all can be happy that poetry 'strode forth,' as if it hadn't, where would the poetry blogosphere be today?

Anonymous said...

Very cool poem. It really speaks to the theme of the day at dVerse.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Great words! Great cadence. Thanks. k.

Kathy said...

Wow, love a history lesson within a poem, and want to just jump and shout,, wave banners, when great works in speeches touch the heart of all of us and move the the idea of language to begin with and all the study of it would entail...thanks for the upbeat reminder of all that has come before us in the realm of words!!

Mystic_Mom said...

You are the master of history lessons woven into poetry my friend. This rocks.