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RAJ NANDY Oct 2014
Dear Friends, kindly read the Foot Notes at the end for
better appreciation. I tried to convey some interesting
information in my verses for my few interested readers!
Thanks, -Raj

THE STORY OF ALPHABETS:
PART ONE

INTRODUCTION
Alphabets are the noblest and the greatest of
inventions of our civilization,
For transmitting human thoughts and concepts
through visible notations!
In the olden days those magical symbols and
signs,
Could be written and understood only by the
priests and scribes !
But with the invention of printing, literacy began
to spread, * (see notes below.)
When people began to read and write with standard
Alphabets!
The 26 English letters with which we read and express
ourselves so easily and well,
Has a legendary and checkered past, and an unique
Story to tell !

FROM PICTOGRAM TO WRITTEN SCRIPTS :
The story of writing can be traced back to over
thousands of years you see ,
From pictogram to ideograms and various cuneiform
scripts!
From the ancient Sumerians and the Egyptians, to
the Semitic tribes;
Up to the Phoenicians, the Greeks, right up to the
Roman times !
Till the Latin script got refined into modern alphabets,
And with 26 letters our literary aspirations were met !

PICTOGRAM & IDEOGRAMS :

Ancient pictogram and symbols were painted and
carved on rock walls and caves, -
But speech sounds and letters remained unrelated !
Followed by the ideographic, logographic, and the
syllabic stages ,
Evolving into written alphabets through these different
phases!
Ideograms expressed an idea through visual or graphic
symbols,
Giving rise to Chinese script without alphabets, but
with only ideographic symbols! @(notes below)
The Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs
were the oldest of these,
Let me now tell you something about the Sumerian
script !

CUNEIFORM WRITING :
On that land between the two rivers the Tigris and
the Euphrates,
Which the Greek’s called ‘Mesopotamia’,
Rose the earliest of ancient civilizations called
Sumeria!
Those Sumerians used a stylus, - the head of a
squared-off reed ,
To inscribe wedge shaped angular symbols on
clay tablets - for their accounting needs!
These tablets could be dried in the sun to form
hardened scripts ,
And also recycled if necessary, giving birth to the
Cuneiform Script!
The earliest clay tablets date back to 3500 BC ;
While archeologists and linguists could detect
and see ,
That with modifications over the centuries this
script was also used, -
By the Akkadians , Elamites , the Hittites and the
Uratians ;
And scholars say that it was the forerunner of the
hieroglyphs of those ancient Egyptians!
The earliest clay tablets found in Mesopotamia,
Indicate accounting of barley crops by the Sangu
of Sumeria!
Sangu was the Chief Official of their Holy Temples ,
Who recorded all temple wealth on clay tablets, –
with cuneiform symbols !
Herodotus the Greek historian tells us a story ,
About a letter sent by the Scythians to the Persian King
during the days of Scythian glory!
This letter contained symbols of a bird, a mouse,
a frog, and five arrows;
When translated it read: “Can you fly like a bird, hide
in the ground like a mouse, leap through the swamps
like a frog? If not, do not go to war with us, -
We shall overwhelm you with our arrows!”

EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHS :
Hieroglyph comes from a Greek word meaning
‘sacred inscriptions’ ,
Consisting of a large variety of images representing
sounds, as well as ideas and actions !
The images were depicted in rows or columns , -
oriented from right to left ,
And the signs were positioned as if looking towards
the beginning of the text!
They were used from end of Prehistory to 396 AD,
And the last text was written on the walls of the
Temple of Isis, on the Island of Philae !
The oldest one dates back to 3100 BC, - inside the
Temple of Ramesses II at Abydos ,
Where Thoth the ibis-headed God, - patron Deity
of Writing and Scribes is seen ,
Holding a scribal palette in one hand and in the
other a stylus of reed ;
And King Ramesses II holding up a water *** , -
To assist the great Thoth, their Writing God !

HIERATIC, DEMOTIC & COPTIC SCRIPTS :
The hieroglyphics were used for many varied
situations; -
Written on temple walls, statues , tombs , papyrus ,
and as monumental inscriptions !
Through its 3000 year’s long history it developed
into three other written scripts; -
The Hieratic, the Demotic and the Coptic, as
reformed hieroglyphic scripts !
Hieratic script was simplified with a more cursive
form ,
Could be drawn more quickly as over the years it
also reformed !
Though used in administrative and business text ,
Also found its way into literature and religious texts!
Around 600 BC it was supplanted by the most cursive
of all scripts,
Herodotus called it ‘Popular’ so it became a ‘Demotic’
script, meaning 'popular' !
Unlike the Hieratic, which on papyrus with a stylus
and ink was written ,
This 'popular' one could be engraved, and also hand
written, -
On a hard surface, and on papyrus by the ancient
Egyptians !
This script was found in the middle section of the
famous Rosetta Stone, $ = (see notes below)
Which for centuries held the secrets of the Hieroglyphic
Code alone !
And finally, during the 4th century AD, when Egyptian
was written with Greek alphabets,
We arrive at the last stage of the Egyptian language;
Which came to be know as the Coptic Script, with the
adoption of the Greek alphabets.
During the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD , Coptic became
the pre-Christian Egyptian language.
However, after the conquest of Egypt by the Muslims
in 642 AD,
Arabic became the main language of Egypt gradually.

A PAUSE & A BREAK :
It is interesting to note that all these ancient scripts ,
Inscribed on rocks , or written on papyrus or
engraved on wooden strips ;
Were written from right to left, with only consonants ,
Without any punctuations or any break!
Till centuries later, due to the innovative Greeks, -
Vowels got introduced to shape up the Alphabets!
Here friends I pause to take a break .
In my Part Two I shall tell you about those Semitic
Scripts ,
About those seafaring Phoenicians who preceded
the Romans and the Greeks;
Those worthy forefathers of the Latin alphabets ,
Which gave birth to ‘English’ with its Anglo-Saxon-
Germanic roots ,
Happily blending with some French vocabulary, -
Making English as unique as it possibly could !
-by Raj Nandy

FOOT NOTES : -
Friends, I tried to keep it as simple as possible for my readers;
adding Notes as explanations & for all knowledge seekers!
= Johannes Gutenberg in 1440 set up the first Printing Press in
Europe. William Caxton in 1476 set up the first printing press in
Westminster, England, he was the first English retailer of books!
* = Lascaux cave paintings of animals in SW France are 16,000
years old! Similar types also found in Spain and Africa!
= Pictogram date from the earliest cave paintings; represents
concrete nouns. Some civilizations like the North American Indians never
ventured beyond pictogram stage! Ideograms – the next stage, represents an abstract idea and verb also.
The Egyptian word-sign showing image of an Eye +a Bee+ a leaf = meant ‘I Believe’, i.e. Pictogram & Ideogram combined ! Since they did not write verbs, we do not know how they pronounced it!
Logograph = each written sign represents an actual word & Not sound of the word!
A tree is shown by the image of a single tree. A single logogram could be used by a plurality of languages to represent words with similar meanings.
After 3000 yrs of use, a large no. of symbols & the chasm between oral & written script made the Hieroglyphs obsolete!
The Semitic people tried to improvise a better script with limited consonant signs only!
@ = The Chinese use a combination of pictogram & ideograms along with complex symbols, but with only through association of spoken words; instead of alphabets!
$= Rosetta Stone, discovered by the soldiers of Napoleon in 1799 in Rosetta. The hieroglyphics on the stone was inscribed in 196 BC in the Ptolemaic Era. The French scholar Jean Champollion deciphered the script, and thereby solved the mystery of Egyptian Hieroglyphics for the world! .
*
ALL COPY RIGHTS RESERVED BY RAJ NANDY
INFORMATIVE 'FOOT NOTES' HAVE BEEN ADDED JUST AFTER THE VERSE.
Pagan Paul Aug 2017
.
i.
The morning mist dissipated
as the ships keel ploughed a furrow
through the Great Green of the Aegean,
leaving far behind the magick isle.
Vigilantos stood at the prow,
marvelling at the accompanying dolphins,
curious and playful,
schooling with purpose to the ocean.
Ahead, waiting, a grand tour.
Of Sumer, Abyssinia and desert lands,
to glean hidden knowledge,
regain the mysteries of the ancients,
read the Necronomicon and old scripts
from a time when power crackled,
and the storms of the gods
belittled the existence of mankind.

ii.
The twilight Moon peeps
from behind the brazen grey cloud.
And she weaves hap-hazard
through the crushes of the crowd.
A high-born daughter of the desert,
a vision of beauty from the sand.
With silks and satin and perfume
richly obtained from foreign lands.
Through the colourful bazaar she threads
with occasional glances thrown at stalls,
priestess jewels sparkle in the night,
its her Name the sirocco calls.

iii.
Cobalt blue water, an illusion of light
where the sun slides through the meniscus,
and the harbour of Tyre was alive.
The bustling of boats around ships at anchor,
snatching glimpses of a turquoise sky
and the quay throbbing with the pulse of music.
It would be another 3 thousand years
before Rome was even a trading post on the Tiber,
let alone an empire conquering the east,
or building hippodromes and columned avenues.
Vigilantos drank in the atmosphere,
his magicians instincts bristling, noting all.
Meandering through the narrow streets,
loosely following direction, getting lost.
Seeking his retinue and camels, ready to start,
across the desert to Ninevah on the Tigris.
To speak to tribes, pray with the priests of Ur.
To find the secrets of mysteries, and treasure,
reaping the knowledge of the Old Gods awe,
amongst the shifting dunes of history.

iv.
Vivid colours of silks and dyes
adorn the tents of cloth and stick.
The summer sun beats down lazy,
heat as oppressive as mist is thick.
Her charms and delights are hidden,
with misery and pain, the last week spent.
The dark, the quiet, the inane chatter,
deep within the women's red tent.
Free from the curse, her moon-cycle complete,
she wanders with mood sombre and slow.
A powerful man from a western place
will arrive at the camp as the sun sinks low.
He had seen her in the main bazaar
and decided to stake his claim.
Whilst confined away, behind her back,
her father had bartered for riches and fame.

v.
His travels around those beautiful lands
had yielded books of law and scripts.
He had heard the oral traditions of elders
and gazed in wonder at the Moon's eclipse.
Then he had seen the greatest treasure
wending her way through crowded markets.
With tact and guile he discovered her Name,
and vowed to grace her father's carpets.

The desert folk live a simple life
but far from simple are they.
Sharp of tongue and quick of wit,
erudite in a most unusual way.
The father was the elected leader,
King of the tribe that he now led.
Vigilantos had bargained hard
to purchase the girl for his marital bed.

vi.
The sun sinks, falling from the sky in the eve.
Spectacular reds and orange colliding with the dunes.
The azure twilight sky lit and sprinkled with stars,
and the tribal camp fills with laughter and tunes.

vii
He walked with purpose toward the campfire,
his features silhouetted by flickering light.
The sudden hush of the assembled camp
echoed strange, deep into the desert night.
His eyes beheld her most beautiful form,
half in the shadow, half in the light.
For her families benefit he had traded,
agreed bargains, and come to claim his right.

“Princess of the desert, Daughter of the sand,
step forward gently and take me by the hand.
For my island home calls out loud to me,
so come, let us away across the sea”.

Head bowed in fake submission
she boldly makes her cold admission.

“I am a Woman of the free,
these sands are my home to me.
With all good grace; I could not face
life on an island in the sea”.

viii.
Black and red, darkness and rage
descend upon his fevered mind.
Humiliated, spurned by a maiden fair,
and pride will not be left behind.

“A curse. A curse. 'pon thy beautiful head,
prowl and creep as do the undead.
Evil deeds are now thy course,
henceforth our contract is now divorced”.

But something made Vigilantos start,
a pang of something from his dead heart.
With such feelings he could not contend,
so a caveat, for the curse to amend.

“Thy deeds and crimes maybe invested
'pon mortals only who invest the same such evil
'pon their fellow mortals”.

ix.
Leaving far behind the desert
he turns his face to the sky.
The ships keel ploughs a furrow
as the evening mist draws nigh.

And now she prowls the dark night,
her Name lost in the sands of time.
Seeking out the mortal sinners and
punishing their evil with her crimes.

... and thus it begins ...
Judderwitch.


© Pagan Paul (08/08/17)
.
Prequel to The Judderwitch poem (posted in April).
I fear this may create more questions than it answers.

My Judderwitch poems are now in a collection :)
https://hellopoetry.com/collection/28451/judderwitch/
PPx
.
Allen Ginsberg  Jun 2009
Howl
For
              Carl Solomon

                   I

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
      madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the ***** streets at dawn
      looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
      connection to the starry dynamo in the machin-
      ery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
      up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
      cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
      contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
      saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene-
      ment roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes
      hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy
      among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
      publishing obscene odes on the windows of the
      skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn-
      ing their money in wastebaskets and listening
      to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their ***** beards returning through
      Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in
      Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their
      torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, al-
      cohol and **** and endless *****,
incomparable blind; streets of shuddering cloud and
      lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of
      Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the mo-
      tionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery
      dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops,
      storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon
      blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree
      vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brook-
      lyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless
      ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine
      until the noise of wheels and children brought
      them down shuddering mouth-wracked and
      battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance
      in the drear light of Zoo,
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's
      floated out and sat through the stale beer after
      noon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to the crack
      of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to
      pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brook-
      lyn Bridge,
lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping
      down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills
      off Empire State out of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts
      and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks
      and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days
      and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the
      Synagogue cast on the pavement,
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a
      trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic
      City Hall,
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grind-
      ings and migraines of China under junk-with-
      drawal in Newark's bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the
      railroad yard wondering where to go, and went,
      leaving no broken hearts,
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing
      through snow toward lonesome farms in grand-
      father night,
who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telep-
      athy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos in-
      stinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas,
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking vis-
      ionary indian angels who were visionary indian
      angels,
who thought they were only mad when Baltimore
      gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,
who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Okla-
      homa on the impulse of winter midnight street
      light smalltown rain,
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston
      seeking jazz or *** or soup, and followed the
      brilliant Spaniard to converse about America
      and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship
      to Africa,
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving
      behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees
      and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fire
      place Chicago,
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the
      F.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist
      eyes **** in their dark skin passing out incom-
      prehensible leaflets,
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting
      the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism,
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union
      Square weeping and ******* while the sirens
      of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed
      down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also
      wailed,
who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked
      and trembling before the machinery of other
      skeletons,
who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight
      in policecars for committing no crime but their
      own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were
      dragged off the roof waving genitals and manu-
      scripts,
who let themselves be ****** in the *** by saintly
      motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim,
      the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean
      love,
who balled in the morning in the evenings in rose
      gardens and the grass of public parks and
      cemeteries scattering their ***** freely to
      whomever come who may,
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up
      with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath
      when the blond & naked angel came to pierce
      them with a sword,
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate
      the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar
      the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb
      and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but
      sit on her *** and snip the intellectual golden
      threads of the craftsman's loom,
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of
      beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a can-
      dle and fell off the bed, and continued along
      the floor and down the hall and ended fainting
      on the wall with a vision of ultimate **** and
      come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling
      in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning
      but prepared to sweeten the ****** of the sun
      rise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked
      in the lake,
who went out ******* through Colorado in myriad
      stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these
      poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver--joy
      to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls
      in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses'
      rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with
      gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely pet-
      ticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station
      solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too,
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in
      dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and
      picked themselves up out of basements hung
      over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third
      Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemploy-
      ment offices,
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on
      the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the
      East River to open to a room full of steamheat
      and *****,
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment
      cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime
      blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall
      be crowned with laurel in oblivion,
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested
      the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of
      Bowery,
who wept at the romance of the streets with their
      pushcarts full of onions and bad music,
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the
      bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in
      their lofts,
who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned
      with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded
      by orange crates of theology,
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty
      incantations which in the yellow morning were
      stanzas of gibberish,
who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht
      & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable
      kingdom,
who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for
      an egg,
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot
      for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks
      fell on their heads every day for the next decade,
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccess-
      fully, gave up and were forced to open antique
      stores where they thought they were growing
      old and cried,
who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits
      on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse
      & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments
      of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the
      fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinis-
      ter intelligent editors, or were run down by the
      drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually hap-
      pened and walked away unknown and forgotten
      into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alley
      ways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of
      the subway window, jumped in the filthy Pas-
      saic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street,
      danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed
      phonograph records of nostalgic European
      1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and
      threw up groaning into the ****** toilet, moans
      in their ears and the blast of colossal steam
      whistles,
who barreled down the highways of the past journeying
      to each other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude
      watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,
who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out
      if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had
      a vision to find out Eternity,
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who
      came back to Denver & waited in vain, who
      watched over Denver & brooded & loned in
      Denver and finally went away to find out the
      Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying
      for each other's salvation and light and *******,
      until the soul illuminated its hair for a second,
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for
      impossible criminals with golden heads and the
      charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet
      blues to Alcatraz,
who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky
   &nb