Periodically, I vow to tune out the babbling media world in which we live. (Hypocritically disregarding the fact that, as I type these words, I am, after a fashion (in a tiny way), participating in that world.) And, periodically, my vow is soon broken. Which does not stop me from (hypocritically) decrying this state of affairs.
The language fades. The noise is more
Than ever it has been before,
But all the words grow pale and thin
For lack of sense has done them in.
What wonder, when it is for pay
Millions are spoken every day?
It is the number, not the sense
That brings the speakers pounds and pence.
The words are stretched across the air
Vast distances from here to there,
Or there to here: it does not matter
So long as there is media chatter.
Turn up the sound and let there be
No talking between you and me:
What passes now for human speech
Must come from somewhere out of reach.
C. H. Sisson, What and Who (1994).
Near the end of the 19th century, Stephen Crane (1871-1900) wrote poetry that was bewildering and ahead of its time. The poems are untitled. It feels as though one has stumbled into the middle of a conversation or a story. What one hears may be portentous, or merely trivial. But the poetry is (for me, at least) oddly alluring (in small doses). Much of it seems prescient. Or, put another way, timeless.
Yes, I have a thousand tongues,
And nine and ninety-nine lie.
Though I strive to use the one,
It will make no melody at my will,
But is dead in my mouth.
Stephen Crane, The Black Riders and Other Lines (1895).