. . Reversing Babel . I. Babel “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.” ---Genesis 11:1 . An ill wind blows through Babel, where all speech Is one, so that it’s possible to plan--- Then build---our city’s tower, which will reach To realms where God can be replaced by man. Our single language keeps us unified In our desire to rise from earth, and be As God---in fact, above Him. Towering pride Supports us in our unity. Abruptly, We hear a strange and vile cacophony Of garbled words poured out from neighbors’ voices--- A noisy knot of nonsense that replaces Clear language with a dissonance of babble! Enraged, we find it is impossible To build, since we’re unable to commingle As we had done when we had used a single Tongue. Our words are senseless babble, and Our city’s tower of pride will turn to rubble, Disintegrating into useless sand. . . II. Pentecost “How is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?” ---Acts 2: 8 . A lively wind blows through Jerusalem, Which makes it possible for us to hear A towering truth not fully known before. A unifying gust from heaven’s realm--- Love’s language, from above all human reach--- Descends to earth, reversing the division That started when God multiplied confusion Among proud men, entangling their speech. But now, an eloquent diversity Of tongues is understood: through varied voices, This Pentecost erases Babel’s curses. Our discord disappears in harmony. The breath of God has made it possible To mingle once again, undoing damage Wreaked by proud abuse of Babel’s language. Instead of babble, comprehensible, Flamed words make known the universal Gospel. In place of Babel’s rubble, now His people Construct His Church---God’s city---and will build It up until His Kingdom is fulfilled. . . . . Cynthia Erlandson is a poet and fitness professional living in Michigan. Her second collection of poems, Notes on Time, has recently been published by AuthorHouse, as was her first (2005) collection, These Holy Mysteries. Her poems have also appeared in First Things, Modern Age, The North American Anglican, The Orchards Poetry Review, The Book of Common Praise hymnal, and elsewhere.