by James Higgins
How did words originate? What theory charts the birth?
In bow-wow theory, Man apes sounds all ‘round—for all he’s worth.
In pooh-pooh theory, Man responds to worry or surprise
or pain or fear. (In pooh-pooh theory, that’s how words arise.)
In ding-dong theory, Man reverberates with Nature’s tone.
(Of all the theories, ding-dong seems the one most overblown.)
In ta-ta theory, like the one we know as yo-heave-ho,
Man’s tongue mimes gestures made while he hoes yet another row.
In la-la-theory, Man’s inspired by playfulness and love.
Now one new theory’s superseded all of the above.
In womp-womp theory, language starts when misanthropic men
poke fun at children’s suffering. It’s happening again.