Cacophony

Genesis, Revised Edition

In the beginning
 there was a constant 
stream of noise, 

and then God 

sat down on a wooden stool,

 and like grandmother,
intent upon her business of 
snapping harvested beans 
for the canning jars, 

God broke that noise 

into discrete pieces 
called words,

knowing the Tower of Babel's
foundation had already 
been laid
 

that we might 
understand each other, 

and laugh, 

and love. 

The F Word

The F Word
 
I learned my manners at Mother’s knee
until the words came naturally.
 
She taught me to say, “Yes, please,” 
“Thank you,” and “You’re welcome,” 
 
until the words came naturally.
 
So when I fell and skinned my knee
or riled up a stinging bee,
 
I didn’t screech or foul the air— 
mouthing ugly words I didn’t dare—
 
nicer sounds just came naturally.
 
“Oh my,” I’d say to searing pain,
hoping my spot in Heaven gain.
 
I’ve lived my life while years have passed,
and know manners  have changed so fast,
 
but still pleasant words come naturally. 
 
And so I flinch, and cringe, and care
when the F word flies through the air.
 
Or when I say, “Thank you,” for kindness done,
I notice how the reply has become— 
 
“No problem,” spoken thoughtlessly.
 
I wonder too if Mothers have changed,
or greater forces have prevailed,
 
so that proper manners no longer matter
in our daily human chatter?
 
And why cheap words come so naturally? 
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