September 2002 - January 2003

Broumov, Czech Republic

And when he uttered the poem, no one; not a single, solitary, individual, whether or not, if he or she, at the moment of utterance, was happy, sad, indifferent, lost in their own self-absorbed thoughts, considering their next move, hungry, angry, squirming in their seat or asleep; was known to the poet. But the rumor of the declaration of the poem was based on memory; memory of someone else's recollection of the event. No one can say for sure if their memory was perfect, nor correct, regarding the enunciation, let alone the correct reiteration of the poem. It was known there was a large gathering of people the day, at the precise moment of the statement. But perforce, the people gathered, somehow, instinctively, to hear the poem for the first time, was uncertain. What was more certain: their circumstances were driven by other means. A meaning, heretofore, forgotten, or not recollected correctly. But the communication happened, that is certain, in fact it is known the poem has, merely, two words.

The first word describes himself. Actually the word, more specifically, identifies an individual, in this case, the verseman. It was a solitary word, one may feel it was a selfish word, as it was non-inclusive, conveyed arrogance, self absorbed, indicated, possibly, a hint of narrow mindedness, described an introspective person concerned only with their own individual motives and caste a blind eye to those around him, not caring for their needs or desires, if they were thirsty, if they had any interest in what the philosopher was attempting to convey, about their secrets, about their dreams. And one may find this analysis true, but not for the second word. The second word, for those who heard it, accompanied by the first, constituted the entire length, though brief, of the entire hymn. But the second word was chosen so masterfully, it immediately reversed all hints of vanity from the first word, all thoughts of self absorption, all accusations of singularity, all evidence of loneliness, all presence of superiority, all observations of gloating and all illusions of perfection.

But one may have said, or at least observed, that though these were two distinctly, different words, therein containing only three different letters; one letter being identical in both words, and due to the construction of the language, necessitated that this letter, of course, be a vowel; that the remaining letters were, daresay, the masterwork of a true genius. And one may have argued that the remaining letters were in actuality, the same, or at least similar. Similar with respect to the methodology employed to scribe them. Though they are, officially, distinct letters, producing quite different sounds, they are related in an acrobatic sense, in a horizontally reflected sense, possibly, in a dyslexic sense; and in this capacity, one may easily confuse the two, or at least see their similarity.

Now, the second word, as accompanied by the first, imparted inclusiveness, but at the same moment, a oneness as well, a sense of companionship, camaraderie, likeness that instilled a true sense of belonging. Not only at the event where the lyric was first voiced, but at nearly any opportunity, by chance, by ourselves, or not. The second word reached a gentle hand out to those around us, and though they may not have been physically present, they may have been included within its parameters.

Now that both words have been revealed, one may further observe that the wordsmith chose only a single word and articulated it, somehow, differently, twice. Inspecting the two words side by side may assure the examiner of this general feeling, since the vowel lies in exactly the same position across both letter groupings; and the first letter being so similar, reasonably similar, even the fielded linguist may suffer from a verbal hemorrhage himself if it was not for the relative ease in identifying that, in fact, these two letter groupings are different words. Which, of course, points to another reasonable observation, there are only two, substantially, different marks in the composition. Marks, not letters; letters connoting an alphabetic symbol, in this case it is easy to find three, distinct symbols; but marks; if one were to scribble on a spare piece of paper, then rotate the paper, or say, flip it over, would not the doodling be relatively easily identifiable as the same, original, mindless markings? So, from this perspective, the work has a sum total of two letter groups, each containing the same vowel, three distinct symbolic, alphabetic characters, and quite arguably, similar consonants.

Herein lies the true essence of the rhyme; beginning with the identity and moving to the plurality; how the one becomes the many; how a single poet can describe himself and everybody around him with two, simple, words. This is a common Man's poem and it nests within the heartbeat of every, one of us. Does it not follow that our adroit bard chose a fancy way; though some people may find this particular style of poetry tiresome to read, or someone else objects to its verbosity; of simply saying us?

T. B.