How many have there been
since man first pressed
a stick into damp clay?
The scribe, the monk, the wielder of the quill,
Gutenberg, who multiplied words for the masses.
Novels, sonnets, limericks, lyrics,
words of love, declarations of war,
words chiseled into gravestones,
or hastily scribbled on notes passed in class.
Words printed daily in the news,
presses running at full speed to spit them out.
Words burned in hatred,
as if fire and smoke could destroy ideas.
Words transformed into bits and bytes,
hurling through cyberspace.
Words that will live forever,
lining library shelves.
Words that die on the vine,
jotted, quickly crumpled and tossed away.
Shakespeare’s 884,647 words,
Shining stars in the cosmos
of all the words that have ever been.
© 2015 DM Shepherd