Knowing Words - Poem by Tom Higgins
I want to know, I wonder why
We look up and see the sky,
And when we then look down,
We see our feet on the ground.
Who was the first to say it is so,
And how exactly did they know?
That up is sky and down is ground
How were these words originally found?
Why is a bird called a bird
Why is something daft called absurd?
Why is a dog called a dog and a pig a pig?
A cow a cow, and what's little and big?
Words that flow from every mouth
Describing which direction's South
Or North or East and West,
Or just whatever you think worst or best
Words for good or words for bad,
Words to describe happy or sad
Words keep on going on and on
But how did they first come along?
Once there must only have been a few.
Perhaps there were only one or two.
Yet today our human tribe
Has hundreds of languages with which to describe
Everything we see and do,
Millions of words no longer a few.
And as time passes the word count grows.
Where will it end? No one knows.
So as the dictionaries expand
In every one of Earth's many lands
Increasing our ability to communicate
Our similarities which are many and great.
Will it lead us to a place in time
Where we all agree that war is crime?
And where perhaps we will come to see
I'm just like you, and you're just like me.
Tom Higgins 12/06/2013
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