Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Long Journey Back to Where We Began:

Hanging our Thoughts in a Vapor
by Jim Rapp

There was a day when man’s thoughts,
sub -lim or self-consciously fraught,
were kept secure for his time;
kept safe in the vault of his mind.

But thoughts kept in a mind –
a mere vapor adrift in time –
are lost when the mind wafts away
or rots under six feet of clay.

And, alas, thoughts commuted in
words are prone too to die;
drifting and shifting they ply
their trade in an unsteady wind.

Ancients attempted to store thoughts away;
to make them forever endure,
engraved on stone, solid and sure,
or baked hard on tablets of clay.

And on each, in its turn – parchment, pottery,
paper, walls of deep canyons and caves,
bones, seashells, the handles of staves –
man preserved his musings and raves.

‘Til they crumbled or rotted away
leaving those holding the fragments,
the task of discerning, among the rents,
meanings lost in the frequent lacunae.

Ashurbanipal’s “books”, locked away
in archives, guarded by scribes and slaves,
only by accident survived ‘til the day
they would be known – for a while – by posterity.
 
Compiled in books and stored in archives,
the wisdom of man has sought to abide
despite the ravage of war, weather, and time,
to say nothing of the censor’s arrogant pride.
 
Now we’ve begun to presumptuously store
our thoughts in an ephemeral “Cloud” –
without weight or substance, our digital lore
resides at the will of the Keepers of Clouds.
 
So we’re back again to no guarantee –
mischief or “outage” may conspire to betray
the trust for which we dearly (and monthly) pay –
in one instant the Clouds may be swept away.

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