Saturday, April 16, 2011

In The Beginning Was The Word

There is no meaning to their precise order
in the same way that there is no meaning
to the precise order of tombstones, but they each
had their lives as did those dead. Words, I mean.
Words are born and apparently die.
The Oxford English Dictionary contains 47,156
"obsolete" words, which means “dead” the same way
“senior citizen” means you’ve more
or less been written off.

The King James Bible contains 14,564 separate words
in a meaningful order of 788,258 total words
while the Oxford Dictionary
contains 171,476 separate words in a precise but
terrifyingly meaningless order;
like the tombstones aforementioned.

The dead have their secrets and they
could all be found in the Oxford,
if it’s words were properly instead of precisely ordered.
The explanation of the Trinity (both Holy Spirit
and first atomic weapon).
Why certain people are idiots.
The recipe for Coke.

For example, for a set of four simple words:
“God raised the dead.”
there are twenty-three additional orders
“The dead raised God.”
and twenty-two additional orders
“Raised the dead God”
and twenty-one additional orders
that likely mean nothing to you
but perhaps have great meaning to the dictionary,
God, and the dead.

With a set of 171,476 simple words
instead of only four,
the number of possible orderings
is transcendent. In the beginning
was the Word, which is in every word,
where God and the dead
read all their lives and the lives
they might have led,
the world and worlds that might have been,
and all the creations for which there
are yet no words.



  1. Beauty! It took me 5 pages to say something similar for my Good Friday sermon. I wish I had your gift, but am grateful that you share it with the more verbose among us.

  2. are starting to get me pretty hooked on this poetry writing thing....