(Homer's) use … of various words which were later connected with writing suggests that he may well have known the technique himself, but regarded it as "unheroic."
—Oswyn Murray, Early Greece


Heroes don't keep diaries.
  Heroes don't write home.
Heroes don't send postcards from
  Assyria or Rome.
Heroes don't pen thank you notes
  for stemware or for beds.
Heroes weave long epic poems
  and keep them in their heads.

But the author, today, 's not heroic one jot.
He has learned how to write and he does it a lot.
He hires in a typist and heartlessly bosses her,
Or cravenly pounds on a girlish word processor.

Heroes don't make shopping lists.
  They're not graffiti-prone.
Heroes don't take messages
  on post-its by the phone.
Heroes don't review a book
  some dull professor wrote.
And when a hero kills himself
  he never leaves a note.

We should try to revive one of Homer's old creeds: "Some-
Times words slip one's mind, but then who the hell needs 'em?"
If writers this motto'd heroically seize,
How much better for literature! (Also for trees.)






first published in The Country Mouse