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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Communication Breakdown (12/16/10)

TITLE: Babel - The Annotated Edition
By Melanie Kerr


We’re packing our bags
Salome and I
We’re moving the tent
And saying goodbye

(Actually we’re not saying goodbye at all. There’s no point really – considering. The bags are packed and the tent is down. When sunset comes we’re out of here.)

One day last week
We woke up to find
A radical change
Of the foulest kind

I knew in my heart
Something was brewing
That God on His throne
Was unpleasantly stewing

(We just had to poke Him! I told them not to do it, but would they listen to me? The architect’s plans looked a little over-ambitious. Not far off the carbuncle award as buildings go and I’m not sure that it was entirely practical. There were a lot of steps involved. Personally, I think the tower leaned a little. A leaning tower? Who’s going to want to see that?)

We fashioned a tower
That reached to the sky
Higher than even
The eagles could fly

(Did I mention that I don’t like heights? I get dizzy and feel like I’m falling over.)

Our tower was constructed
For glory and fame
In bricks and mortar
We paraded our name

He watched as each brick
Was put into place
Such unity shown by His
Lost, fallen race

(Unity is not a bad thing really. It’s what you do when you’re united that can be the trouble. Mobs can be ugly things. Not that we were a mob. We were a highly organised assembly line, each person knowing his or her part and playing it to perfection. The tower was our message to God that we could manage fine without Him.)

He mused to himself
“If this is the start
Nought can deter them
They’re best kept apart.”

(I am just guessing this bit. Who knows the mind of God? Not me. I guess someone will write it all down one day when God chooses to share His thoughts with people. That’s not to say that He doesn’t share His thoughts – but I think since leaving Eden there has been a communication breakdown. We’re all losing that ability to hear God clearly.)

We woke the next day
To confusion and mess
His tactic was brilliant
I have to confess

My usual greeting
Was met with a stare
The man’s comprehension
It just wasn’t there

I spoke my words slowly
My voice loud and clear
He understood nothing
That much was clear

Across the great city
Such strange words were flung
Sounds quite remarkable
Tripped off the tongue

(Of course, I was unaffected by this new phenomenon. I was still speaking normally. It was everyone else that was babbling incoherently. I never knew the tongue was capable of such exotic sounds.)

Progress was halted
The building work stopped
Hammers and chisels
And spanners were dropped

Tempers were frazzled
From insults perceived
Unable to translate
Most felt aggrieved

(That was the end of our great civilisation. Salome and I joined with others that were still speaking normally. At first we just moved out tents together. Then we moved a little bit further away. And then further still. We felt uncomfortable near the others.)

The city called Babel
Was left to decay
As each separate group left
To go their own way

The gift we were given
We chose to abuse
Our flurry of words now
Confound and confuse

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This article has been read 605 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood12/23/10
I really like this. Of course, I've heard the story of the Tower of Babel forever, but I never once stopped to think what that must have been like for the people that actually experienced it. You did this in such a creative, delightful way, too - great work!
Mona Purvis12/23/10
Well-known Bible story offered in a fresh way. Creative. Certainly on topic.
Margaret Kearley 12/24/10
This is great - wonderful poetry and I love the intervening explanations.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/27/10
I appreciated the conjecture that went into how people might have been affected, but I loved the humor in the side comments by the MC.
Noel Mitaxa 12/27/10
A very clever balance between narrative verse and explanatory prose as you present the inside story of a cataclismic event that we easily bypass as we read through Genesis.
Henry Clemmons12/29/10
Now I really liked this. Beyond clever and witty and talented and I loved the personality of the mc. I enjoyed it very much and thought it very creative.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/04/11
I really enjoyed this fresh prespective. You also have a delightful sense of humor. Congratulations for placing inthe top 20 overall and 9th in Masters.