As code, is how the alphabet
Began in use. Visible ink.
Cuneiform, which few regret,
Did everything most people think
Essential in a writing system
For three millennia of sale,
Gift, loan-could number, name, and list them,
Hard copy, should agreement fail.
It was so widely understood,
Just that extent of being common
Knowledge ensured inventors would
(Looking to better, as is human)
Make, from some local “first-noise” lines
Needed to label filing baskets
Of dried clay tablets, secret signs
Perfectly suited to their task. It’s
Quite amusing to suppose how
Rich men, far-travelled, bold in trade,
Studied their cyphers then. One knows how
They chanted names, as if they prayed
Unto new gods. “Aleph is ox.”
Vain, the attempt (“Beth, house”) to keep
What works by sharing under locks.
Xenophones (“Gimel–but why no sheep?”)
Yoked this new carrier to new carts
Zestfully. Smarts plus marts gives arts.