“The Babbling Brutes of Babel”

The Babbling Brutes of Babel
by Eric Verbovszky

I hear there is a fable
of the babbling brutes of Babel.

They forgot they were told to scatter,
so in Mesopotamia, they gathered.

They said, “Let’s build a city!
And a tower that’s in no way mini!”

Mixing the mortar, firing the bricks,
they really thought they were slick.

But there was one who was Godly;
he saw that their work wasn’t shoddy.

Though, seeing their hearts misplaced,
he finally judged this case.

Sowing people all over the earth,
new tribes and new tongues were birthed.

Given so many opportunities to learn,
our neighbor’s love, we can earn.

Humanity was forced to be given a lift,
but we finally made use of God’s gift.

And, of the babbling brutes of Babel?
Their little project was decisively tabled.

*This is a poem I wrote based on Genesis 11:1-9; although pride is one factor to consider, it is not the motivating factor for God to scatter the people as it is often preached about. Rather, the people defied God’s command to spread out over the earth and make use of God’s gift of creation (Gen. 1:28, 9:1,7). Moreover, God had already seen the evil that occurred in sinful hearts opposed to God; it got so bad, in fact, that God wiped the earth clean with a flood and simply started over with Noah and his family!

Scattering the people was an act of God’s prevenient grace, stopping a unified people with hearts bent toward evil, selfishness, and idolatry.   Finally, diverse people groups with different languages, while keeping sinful people separate and perhaps providing checks and balances to greater evil, also gives us opportunities to learn how to more deeply love one another by getting to know so many of God’s communities around the world.   God loves variety! This is demonstrated in the creation account; giving humanity languages is another example of God’s beauty in diversity!

Babel, meaning ‘Gate of God’ and nothing to do with confusion, could potentially be the earliest city of Babylon. If it is, it is probably buried under at least 5,000 years of Babylonian history. Archaeological excavations to find this early and unfinished foundation would be incredibly difficult.   Noah’s descendants most likely migrated to Mesopotamia after traveling around the Ararat mountains in and around eastern Turkey, settling in what they called the plain of Shinar before God scattered them.

Sumerian ziggurat engineering resembles the building techniques discussed in Genesis 11:1-9.   Noah’s ancestors may be the very first Sumerians or even their predecessors.   The earliest Gilgamesh accounts, which include stories of Utnapishtim who closely resembles Noah, appear during the 4th millenium B.C. with the early Sumerians.   Noah’s descendants would have carried his story with them as they settled there; this story would have merged with Sumerian culture and the Gilgamesh Epic through history.

tele-pictionary

Who ate my chicken? No one knows why we eat turkey at Thanksgiving. An Indian is asking a pilgrim about Thanksgiving? An Indian meets a pilgrim and asks about a big feast to give thanks. The X-Men attacked Batman and Superman. Batman and Robin are beginning to question why the trolls are attacking them. Superman married a bird and the bird gave birth to kittens. Superman (after degrading his costume) is a therapist to a crazy cat-man in a church. The snack that smiles back…goldfish. I love me some goldfish. I love fishing off the dock. The angry cat dances in front of the burning boat. The catman sang aboard the burning ship. The cat’s meow. My mother wears a bad toupee. A kid is mortified when he sees a scary lady’s…mouth/teeth. A giant girl is chasing a sad little boy. Imma eat you for breaking my daughter’s heart. Somebody barfed on my tilt-a-whirl. Someone screamed at my giant jawbreaker. One guy gets candy. Other guy is mad. Give me my lollipop! Two kittens sleeping in a box. Two sleeping cats are in a bed dreaming of candy. I’m ignoring you now. The goldfish ate the bear. A giant goldfish is eating a miniature sized bear with sharp nails. A giant goldfish stares at a baby bird. Two dogs are sleeping waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. Two dogs are barking at Santa’s Christmas tree. Santa, gimme all you got. Giant Santa, you’re two months late. Harry Potter fights the zombie bunnies. Harry Potter killed the rabbit. I thought it would be cool to decapitate the Easter Bunny. A man stabs a bunny with a sword. We’re just two lost souls living in a fish bowl. The fairly odd parents tricked me! Shut up, you stupid baby! A lady is overwhelmed when she sees her baby needs to be changed. The library was closed during the tornado ripping through town. The tornado is coming and the store is closed. There is a tornado outside of the abandoned convenience store. Release the kracken! The killer monster squid is killing my enemies boat #yolo #awesome #pirates. A guy is sailing the sea when a giant worm tries to eat him. Loch Ness monster attacks innocent faceless man. Save the whales! Two people are lost at sea. A boy doesn’t know the alphabet nor does his friend. I hate working as a clown. Ouch! That hurt! He took my jumprope. I can’t jumprope; I hate you. The alien gave birth to a human and the umbilical cord is still attached. The beach has a lot of turtles. Turtles go to the ocean. The tortoise is slow. The turtle is vomiting on the track and he also in last place. A woman was really mad because she forgot to put on her blue shoes for her wedding. Girl is mad pastor loves Jesus more than her. Is this the red cross? I think that’s a hospital but I’m not entirely sure. Dumbledore is eating ice cream with Harry Potter. Harry Potter and Dumbledore eat ice cream together. Harry Potter loves eating ice cream; it cures his emotional distress. I eat my cereal with two spoons at once. The ice cream truck ran out of ice cream. Protesting against school! No more school! Two people are attempting to burn a school down. The Jersey Shore cast enjoys the occasional poetry reading. An alien has an identity crisis. An alien is having a mid-life crisis in a coffin as his king tries to figure out a way to help him. An alien wakes up from a coma and the king is confused.

Someone barfed on my ferris wheel.

“The Spotted Sea Trout”

This is a small glimpse of a 160 mile kayaking trip from Carlisle, Pennsylvania to halfway down the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland’s eastern shore. My friend Alex and I made this journey in May 2009 after my graduation from Dickinson College; Alex graduated from Dickinson College in May 2008.

I looked down into the blue waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Salt was in the air as the sub-aquatic vegetation pressed against the ceiling of the tide, almost yearning to escape the two feet of water still remaining in the bay. There was a bubble at the surface. As I turned my gaze from the horizon to the water, my mind soon processed the Spotted Sea Trout that had come so close to my kayak.

I took a few more seconds to contemplate my encounter with the fish. A few miles behind me was the mouth of the Susquehanna River. Beyond that was the Mason-Dixon line and Pennsylvania. Even further upstream was Harrisburg. And if you headed west somewhere around there, you would find the Conodoguinet Creek, the town of Carlisle, and Dickinson College. It was there that Alex and I began this tour just a few days before and maybe a hundred miles earlier.

The fish had disappeared; the ripples had dissipated. Any remnants of its presence were long gone. I once again returned my eyes to the land ahead. The fish was already at home safely in the undergrowth, yet we were still paddling our kayaks toward a place to make our home. Humidity masked the eastern shore as Alex and I were miles away from land in every direction. Only a faint breeze brought relief to the late afternoon heat as the sun continued it blazing journey to the west.

Rocks sat on a barge to my left; a small yacht was only a little farther. Two or three sailboats dotted the water ahead of us. It passed through my mind once or twice that they were probably wondering what two small human-powered vessels were doing out in the middle of the bay at that time. Our yellow and orange boats floated in contrast to the blue salt-water.

Picking up my paddle, I powered through my sore shoulders and the pain of the blisters forming on my hand. My sunburnt neck and face weren’t bothering me yet. I looked over at Alex and pulled my paddle through the water, propelling my kayak a few feet toward the land that never seemed to get any closer. Our short pause had come to an end. Although we joined the Spotted Sea Trout in his home for a couple minutes, we were still making the trip toward ours.

Maybe the Spotted Sea Trout would join us.

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