Wanna Rewrite the Bible?

As usual, I had a thought, almost a joke of a thought, but then I realized I was serious. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Christian Bible. I was raised on it. It was my primary source document for literature, for THE TRUTH, for pretty much everything. I had read it through before I had read any great author besides maybe Mark Twain.

I loved the King James Version. I loved Jesus. Eventually, I became an atheist, this happened while I was at God’s Bible College in Cincinnati, of course. The problem is, not so much for me, because I look at the Bible as some beautiful poetry, some great stories, and generally a pretty good philosophy of life, that is sadly, not what modern Christianity is about for too many Christians.

But that is neither here nor there, except, that for millions of people, having a modern version of the Bible is critical. There are a dozen modern versions, with varying accuracy to the original texts, or at least what we think was the original texts. I cant vouch for their accuracy, nor do I particularly care. My problem is that none of them have held onto the beauty of the language. Some of what makes the King James Version appealing is that it is OLD! 1611 was over 400 years ago, so it is the literary version of walking into an old European cathedral. But it is also a work of art, for the most part, and the modern versions are about as concerned with beauty and creativity as an Ikea instruction manual.

It seems to me, a properly motivated group of good modern poets and short story writers with help from a team of theologians and language experts could stay close enough to the meaning to not offend the average Christian and yet create something as beautiful as wicked ole King James commission way back when.

I have no funds, no experience in this, other than being a poet who spent a long time with his nose in the KJV. To hire a dedicated and skilled team would cost between $3 – $10 million and take 1-5 years.

I have about $12.00 to spare, and I could bite off a few of the 800,000 words (plus the 130,000 in the Apocrypha. Just wondered if this project appeals to anyone else in this group, enough to see if we can do it, and if we want to, does anyone have any idea about funding?bibles a stack

Today’s Rant about the English Language:

“I would like English a lot better if it had rules!”

Ah, but you say, “IT DOES!!!!” That is the beauty of it all, and folks like me simply go around tearing at the fabric by ignoring or worse yet, not learning the “RULES.”

Do you realize that in most of the world, in most things, “Rules are Rules!”

In Spades, you cannot lead with Spades until a spade has been played. I know, if you dont play spades you neither understand nor care. In baseball, if you hit the ball in “fair territory” and run to first base before someone tags you out, you are safe, you can even overrun the base as long as you step on it and do not turn left, you are safe. this is true no matter how many people are on base, no matter who the pitcher is, no matter what inning you are in, or on which day of the week you are playing. you are safe, and conversely, if you are tagged before stepping on the base, you are “OUT!” no question. These are the rules. learn them once, and never think about it again. its like the pledge of allegiance, hand over heart, right hand over left chest region. never changes, unless you are a one armed person, you do not pledge with your left hand. simple.

now lets review the “rules” in English:

maybe the most famous is: “i” before “e”, except after “c,” except sometimes.

yep, especially the “sometimes” part. there are at least a dozen common English words without a “c” preceding the combo that break the rule, there are several words with “c” that break the rule. why not spell science sceince? is that any sillier than spelling “Stein”  (sounds like stine, in fact, why not use the name “Stine”?)?

my most hated combo is the “au” pairing, which is au or ua, and i can never remember why, especially as i have never heard the difference between language and gauge. and then there are words that end in “ent” or “ant” like equivalent, extravagant, and experiment. does anyone really pronounce the “ant” and “ent” differently here? and is there a rule, oh use the ant when the previous vowel is an”a” or when it is an “e”. and for gods sake, lets come up with consistent, consistant? rules.

and did you know if you put english on a ball, it can either be capitalized or not, but if its the country, it must always by capitalized? do you realize with the three letter word “its” and “it’s” means one word automatically violates a standard rule that freaks so many grammarians out anywhere else?

So lets start with dual vowels:

New rule, unless you can say the word so distinctly that you can actually HEAR the difference, twin vowels are to henceforth be written in alphabetical order, so “e” ALWAYS, like baseball, come after ‘a” and before “i” and the only time to use “ant” is when the proceeding syllable has an “e” spelling, so different would become differant and equivalent and experiment would stay the same, as restaurant, but language would become langauge yes, it is “lane gwij” and the new spelling is a bit more lane gauge, but that brings another point, why not spell words the way we say them? this isnt french where letters have secret handshakes and underground passages, this English, or what’s left of it after the English get through chewing it up! i mean is gwij any sillier than glish?

if we sat it iNG(ɡ)liSH, why not write it that way? and what the heck is the little ‘g’ doing there?


Seven-Thirty Sunset

just driving home today

Anthony Uplandpoet Watkins

As grandmother and toddler

turn towards home

and the Hispanic boy

with a gold necklace

runs through a back yard

and the Haitian girl tosses

a worn brown

basketball to her young nephews

life flows out onto the narrow

streets of lake worth

in the hot yellow air

that turns all the colors

black in silhouette.

The almost chill rustles the uncut palms

and thrusts paper wrappers

against sagging chain-link fences

and the nine o’clock sunset

is still two months away

but the thin old man

steps into the street and closes

the door on his Chevy

glad to be home

before dark.

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