Inedible Symbols

A word is not the thing it names. A map
is not the territory that it plots.
The painting of a tree does not have sap.
A drawing shows the stars as little dots.
Yet we’ve confused the symbols that we use
with that which they so dimly represent,
though they are just a way of giving clues
to truths but don’t convey the things we meant.
An “atom”, an “electron”, or a “quark”,
are only terms we give to mysteries,
but you can’t eat the word “food” with a fork
nor taste the truth from labels such as these:
our words, like words for foods, are useful labels,
but we need more than them at dinner tables.


Mario A. Pita

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