A Study of Languages

Note. This study that started out as one long poem exploring the many languages you and I speak in different situations. It evolved into a number of shorter poems, each looking one or more aspects of our daily languages.
Speaking Daddy
by Bill Beeler (August 1995)

Sitting in the den, I speak daddy with
family. A language ruled by the myth
of what should be said, not what I feel.
Long term pacts and love shape what is real.
Words and actions are seeds in fertile soil.
Every damn one will grow for good or spoil.
Planter has no control, only request.
Cast forever - no one knows the harvest.
Please God, let those wayward words grow into
rich values that teach them what they must do.
Tender tilling that makes one give a hoot
so their feeling of self worth is not moot..

Note. This poem was entered in the Illiad Press Quarterly Poem & Essay Contest for 1st Qtr 1996. Entry mailed 3/11/96.

Speaking Church
by Bill Beeler ( August 1995)

Sitting in the pew, I speak church with
congregation. A language ruled by fear
and hope for the future. God loves us more
than the church down the street.
Thanks for the job you kept ten other souls
from getting. Thanks for keeping my house from
burning. Your blessing saved my child from harm.
That sinner died because you struck him down.
God, They credit you with the vilest of
villainy and ask you to make their hate
holy. you must cry every night that your
children would rate your love so poorly.

Speaking Job
By Bill Beeler (August 1995)

Sitting in the office, I speak job
with co-workers. A language ruled by
self service and gossip. Punch the clock,
be on time, keep up, pace the others.
If I have it, the customer needs it;
make the sale. We all know how that last raise
was earned, don’t we. Rating time is
near, hope I look better than you.
Does it have to be this way? Surely there
must be a better way. Couldn’t we all
just give a little and take a little?
Lord, has it ever been that way?

Speaking Macho
By Bill Beeler (August 1995)

Sitting in the bar, I speak macho
with customers. A language ruled by
dogma and image. Butt hangs over the
stool, arm rests on the bar.
Eyes peer into the beer or blank mirror
on the wall. Forbidden are our hopes, dreams,
and love, too sissy. Hate, bias and
condemnation are fair, a strong facade.

Speaking Poetry
By Bill Beeler (August 1995)

Sitting all alone, I speak poetry
with God. A language ruled by the spirit
and truth. I address the conflicts within
my life at home, at work, and at church.
Poetry lets me look within my soul
and speak my personal reality.
Limited only by the acceptance
of those with whom I choose to share.
Even then - it was only a metaphor.

Note. Submitted to SPLEEN 8 April 96. Not accepted.

We Try To Communicate
By Bill Beeler (March 1996)

Life’s communication is feelings, words
and postures. Motives are often hidden
and meanings obscure.
The language of family is words with
love planted in fertile soil. Grown by the
receiver, the harvest unknown.
The language of religion is passage,
proverb, and prayer. Never question
contradictions. Have faith.
The language of co-workers is self
service, rumor, and gossip. Rating time
is near, hope I look better than you.
The language of drinking buddies is
prejudice and narrow-mindedness.
Let’s condemn the weak and different.
The language of poetry is ideals,
tenderness, and spirituality -
Limited only by thoughts that I share.

Note. This was an abbreviated version of “Languages I Speak” I was attempting to shorten the original poem to less than 200 words for a contest sponsored by Hawley-Cooke Booksellers in November 1995. I like original version best.

The Language of Life
By Bill Beeler (August 95)

The language of life is
sentiments, conversations, and curses.
Motives are often hidden and meanings obscure.
The language of animals is
moves, looks, noises, and gifts.
Motives are not questioned.
The language of family is
words and love planted in fertile soil.
Cultivated by the receiver, the harvest unknown.
The language of religion is
passages, proverbs, and prayers.
Never question contradictions, have faith.
The language of co-workers is
self service, rumors, and gossip.
Rating time is near, hope I look better than you.
The language of drinking buddies is
prejudice, sexism, and narrow-mindedness.
Let’s condemn the weak, the different.
The language of poetry is
idealism, tenderness, and spirituality.
They are limited only by those with whom I share.
Even then -- it was only a metaphor.

A New Desk

A New Desk
By Bill Beeler (October ‘95)

Hey, I need a new desk.

There are many things I need to do.
Count our money and pay all our bills.
Record our ancestors and write our book.
Write to our family and to our friends.
Why not just use the kitchen table?

The new desk is made of oak,
course the old one was too.

The new desk has lots of work space,
course the old one had almost as much.

The new desk is easier to move,
course the old one had more wood in it.

The new desk has lots of promise,
course the old one had character.

The new desk has three extra drawers,
course they don’t hold much more

Hey, I want a new desk.