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.