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Monday, March 30, 2015

Shelf Life

These words have a shelf life
though they may never sit
on a shelf

Who knows what will happen
to the typeface of the language
in 500 years

If you can read this
then things are still okay
but there are changes today

The words may not mean
what they mean now
The environment may change

Chemicals in future brains
may see different colors
or no color at all

Poisons polluting the world
may get worse
and people will not be the same

These words may disappear
because they weren't saved
on acid free paper or liquid memories

Certainly these words will disappear
because they were saved
as quaint ones and zeros

The passion it took to create
this combination of words
will not be recreated in new people

Impermanence is the bane
of all writers and won't change
unless there may be no readers

Perhaps you are reading
every other word printed
on some new screen or direct input

There are more words here
than the ones you now read
because music was playing

In one thousand years
we may not have fingers
that once used pens and keyboards

Scoff if you will
the most important book
one day won't be a book

Everything will change
a hundred times over
and this may be the future's bible

Unlikely possibilities teach
impossibility to those
the future will think impure

That's enough for today
Don't look over your shoulder
Some things refuse to tap it

Barry G. Wick

1 comment:

Castanea_d said...

What I took away from "Finnegans Wake" (after spending about a year getting through it) was part of what you are saying here; language and words are fluid and will not sit still and mean the same thing for generations. You go further and observe that we humans are also fluid.

We can still read Shakespeare and Plato; they have proven to have a long "shelf life."

Thank you for the poem. I do not often comment, but I read all of them, and I am glad that you are posting more frequently these days.