Christopher Shepheard

Rookie (22nd August 1949 / Kingston-upon-Sea, Sussex, England)

The Tower of Babel


An enterprise for zealots to pursue
Who felt within their skills a worship quickening
To build a spire of stone and thereby light
The heavens up, for all men to acquire.

I would have thought the ladder Jacob’s faith
Inclined against the knees of God sufficed.
What need was there to shimmer up and blend
Communion in craft with sand and lime?

But Janus smiles: no craftsman can endure
The young, the quick, the supple hand of learning
To whittle at the cipher of his art.
Each one must cap his parapet by dint
Of cuneiform, for in the mason’s mind
All chisels but his own are butcher blades.

(1988)

Submitted: Sunday, November 29, 2009

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