Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Tower of Babel

When I was asked to teach another Bible School lesson at church this past Sunday (and I said yes!) I was told it was to be about the Tower of Babel.  Everyone knows that story, don't they?  It is from Genesis and the people built a gigantic tower reaching to heaven. After destroying the Tower, God made all the people speak in different languages. It is a story of man's arrogance and I was surprised to know that the middle school aged children (grades 6-8) did not know the meaning of the word "arrogance"! They do now.

St. Simon's Church with granite rock (see the face?)
As I was telling Richard about the lesson I was preparing he surprised me by telling me that it is pronounced  "BAY-bul" in England, whereas we say "babble" in the USA.   I looked it up and he is correct. (No surprise there!)   I worked that into my lesson and told the kids that not only do we have different languages but even within the same language (American English and British English) there are such differences as to make meanings unclear.  I went on to say that each generation has words all their own which also makes it difficult to communicate. And I didn't even get into how differently women and men can speak at odds with each other!  There is a poem that I am reminded of, and it has the lines  "jewelled boats of night and the irony that runs beneath"...but I can't find it for you.  I should just save this as a draft and keep looking for it, but perhaps I can ask you, my dear reader, if you know this poem, then to please leave this in a comment and then I will add it to my post. Do you feel as if you are being used? Please, let's not call it that, let's just say you are helping someone who really appreciates your help!

As we climb Stone Mountain sometimes, I can't help but be reminded of the Tower of Babel (the word "babel" is from a Hebrew word which means to confuse) when you hear so many languages spoken all around you.  The nice thing, a smile means the same in any language, and on the way up that beautiful mountain, there are smiles all around.  :-) 


29 comments:

  1. Sorry Kay, I have never heard of that poem. I like that you teaching in Sunday School. Hope you have a good time with the young people.xo,Susie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Susie! If you find the poem, let me know, any post in the future, at any time. I can't find it either!!

      Delete
  2. I would love to be "used" Kay, alas, I don't know the poem. I bet the kids love your lessons!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, for letting me use you!
      Let's just hope that they did, that age is not an easy age!

      Delete
  3. In Canada, with our dual British and American influences, I have heard "Babel" pronounced both ways! But I prefer the "babble" pronunciation because the point of the parable dovetails so perfectly with the conventional meaning of the word.

    Sorry, I don't know that poem either but I'd love to read it, based just on that one wonderful line!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will find that poem, I promise to share it with you!

      Delete
  4. That was very interesting about the different pronounciation of Babel! In German, we say "Bah-bel" (more or less). So the children learned not only about Babel in your lesson, but even a new word :-) (Really odd that they didn't know the word arrogance.)

    Hardly surprising, I can not help with the poem, either - poetry is not quite my literary genre, and I hardly know anything about it, but I am sure you'll find it eventually. Have you tried to search with different words, such as ships instead of boats?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have tried several search engines and as of yet, no luck.
      It is really talking about the reflection of light upon water, meaning the "jewelled boats of night". I am still looking!

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. And one with which I am well familiar!

      Delete
  6. I did a quick search, but didn't find what you are looking for. Very interesting about the different pronunciations of Babel. Love your cover photo. Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Connie!
      I will keep looking for that poem.

      Delete
  7. Groovy man!
    And my pareidolia ability is working this morning. I can see the face.
    Sorry, I don't know the poem, but the words in the fragment that you remember are compelling. Poetry is not my long suite!
    Have a super day, Kay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And how groovy that you know the word "pareidolia"!
      I wrote about it last year in a post and I STILL have to look it up!
      Keep an eye on my blog and I hope to have that poem on here soon!

      Delete
    2. I cannot tell a lie by omission, Kay! I went back to your old post and found the word so I could put it in my comment! Hee! Hee!

      Delete
  8. What a nice post, Kay. I didn't recognize that line in the poem but would love to hear the rest of it. My son teaches English in foreign countries and sometimes his students think he is making things up, we have so many different meanings for words and phrases over here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dorothy!
      I feel for your son trying to teach English, it must be very difficult!

      Delete
  9. A babble of sounds is how i think of the story.

    No luck finding a poem with that exact line, but there is a poem about jeweled boats that is very pretty at http://www.instituteofaustralianculture.com/sydney-harbour-new-years-eve-1897-mary-e-richmond/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Mimi,
      that's not the poem, but I love that one too!
      Thanks for telling me about it!
      My sister lived in Australia once, and I LOVE Sydney, always wanted to go there.

      Delete
  10. Hmmm, I didn't know about the different pronunciations! You really do learn something new every day. (smile) Hope you're well, Kay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Audrey!
      I always find the winter a challenge, can't get out to walk on my beloved Arabia Mountain as much as I like!

      Delete
  11. What a great post. I laughed when I read that though the 'tweens didn't know the meaning of the word "arrogance" when they came in -- "Well, they do now!" :0) Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Carol, thanks so much for your comment! You can't know this, but your comment was right in the middle of a whole BUNCH of those horrible Anonymous trying -to-sell- you something comments, so yours was like a shining beacon of friendliness!
      HAHA, yes, I gave them several examples so they might know "arrogance"!!

      Delete
  12. Ha! I always thought we should be able to inherit knowledge of the languages our ancestors spoke genetically! But, alas.....

    I love that you brought differences of pronunciation into the lesson as another way language can prevent communication! And I also tried to find the poem. I love the lines you have and think it should be findable, but I could not help you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kristi! I didn't have much time to prepare anything, the teacher just called me the night before! So, I hope it went okay.
      If I find the poem, I will share it on here, so keep reading my blog.
      Thanks to you and to all who tried to find this poem for me. I appreciate it!!!

      Delete
  13. It took a while but I found a reference to that poem:

    "Hughes, Dorothy H. // New Yorker; 4/9/1955, Vol. 31 Issue 8, p30
    The article presents the poem "The Age of Sheen," by Dorothy Hughes. First Line: I never see the colored boats of night. Last Line: Of the river, and the irony underneath."

    at this link (does not go to the poem, you have to access it through your local library evidently): http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/poems/19436208/age-sheen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Sara, thank you so much!!
      When I woke up on Sunday morning, I remembered that the title of it was "The Age of Sheen", but when I put that into a search engine, all that came up was everything to do with Charlie Sheen! AHHHH!!!
      Thank you again, I truly appreciate it!!
      xx

      Delete
  14. Hi Kay

    I remember being in a 7/11 in Las Vegas and asking the blokes on the tills for help finding a couple of items. They "loved my accent" but had no idea what I was on about. They asked how long I was staying in the States and I had to answer along the lines of not long enough to teach them proper English.I knew I could be cheeky because-at the risk of a stereotype- Americans are so friendly and customer oriented.

    For an example of the trouble that language can cause, have a look at the sketch by The Two Ronnies entitled 'Four Candles/Fork Handles'. Rick might remember it.

    Kind Regards

    H

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Henry, you are so funny, even when you are cheeky anyone would forgive you, you great teddy bear you! :-)
      Oh, and you know that Richard has shown me the Four Candles/ Fork handles sketch, it's brilliant! I love the Two Ronnies, you know!
      Take care, Henry! xx

      Delete