Word. A Poem by Frederick Pollack

Initially the inscription
was thought to be ideograms,
then letters, then some intermediate stage,
insofar as that progression
could be assumed, here. All admired
the whimsical beauty
of the forms, their discipline,
the paradoxical impression
of urgency. Computers
would soon enough resolve
the question and the larger mystery;
but some researchers
perversely wished
the issue could be left
to imagination, their sense
of what had been said.
They questioned if the matrix were, in fact,
cliff, or had once been a wall,
say of a palace. They felt,
given the strangeness, that it hardly mattered
if the obstacles were grit, heat, earthly
distances, or vacuum, cumbersome
suits, hundreds of light years and the problems
of work in vacuum and with so much past.
They wondered if the inscription
had been written by no one
but was itself life carving
itself, and whether they
were both the message and its addressee.

Fred Pollok
Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. A collection of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, forthcoming in 2015 from Prolific Press. Has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Representations, Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, etc. Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire Review, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, etc. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.