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A Notable Event

Listen to Fritz read this poem

For the umpteenth time Noah repeated

The fantastic details supplied from high on

To a skeptical family he must rely on

If an ark of such generous size were to be completed.

“The ark shall be three hundred cubits long.

Made of imported timber guaranteed strong.

Make a note of it!” Noah told Ham, who already looked weary.

“What’s a cubit?” came the eldest son’s innocent query.

“Ah! Tis the length from elbow to wrist,” was the Greybeard’s reply.

“Be sure that with these specifications you completely comply.

Make a note of it!” the Aged One to Shem did report.

“And the ark’s width, fifty cubits, from starboard to port!

Make a note of it,” he barked with a tone a bit short.

“Inside and outside she shall be sealed with pitch.”

Japheth, the third son, dared ask, “What’s pitch?”

“Pitch is a waterproof sealant, not yet commercialized,

Containing a complexity of compounds highly specialized

Available to us, you should know, from the nearby woods—

Later it is bound to be sold among the local produce and goods.

Make a note of it! Make a note of it!! Make a note of it!!!

With such supplies, we shall make a boat of it.”

 

The three siblings huddled, befuddled

Scratched their heads in utter bewilderment.

None, thinking themselves a boat-builder, meant

They faced a daunting task

Nearly too much to ask

Of the three of them—

Japtheth, Ham and Shem.

 

“What does he mean, ‘Make a note of it?’

Does he take us for fools?

We have no writing tools,

No paper, no pen, no ink.

What are we expected to think?”

“We have neither literacy nor proclivity

For such activity.”

“It’s the Sumerians, with marks quite starkly uniform,

Will devise a writing they will later call cuneiform.”

 

“So what do we do with all these notes?”

“Yes, what do we do with all these notes?”

And then—suddenly, in inspirational unison, the trio

Began to transform unknown notes

Into marks of a musical medley con brio.

 

That is—they sang, with quarter notes

Half notes, whole notes, this tripled company.

Lively they yodeled, gaily they chanted,

Notably in harmony. Notably in harmony.

 

You too, my friends, can bring today’s crowd to uncommon mirth

With notes that celebrate the many muses of the earth

With notes—either payable or playable, for what it is worth.

Fritz Fritschel
March 2011


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