How Many Lost Words?

The Idea Pile

The Idea Pile

How many tales have been lost?
To history’s brutal ways
Burned for blasphemy
Torn apart by fear
Never to return to the page
Knowledge buried
So deep it suffocates to death
Stories shredded
Cast to the winds and tides
All that will never be again
One chance to make them last
Destroyed by mindless beasts
Masquerading as men
How much of us has been lost?


Inspired by hearing someone mention the Library of Alexandria and other events that resulted in the destruction of books.  Makes me wonder how many of those tomes held knowledge that could advance us to a new age or stories that could change the way we look at fiction. Ever think that the secret to happiness or the key to global peace had been written long ago, but somebody had the information destroyed?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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22 Responses to How Many Lost Words?

  1. merrildsmith says:

    The destruction of libraries and historical sites makes me heartsick. As well as knowledge lost, there are so many artifacts, items of beauty and/or cultural significance, that can never be replaced.


  2. L. Marie says:

    Great poem! How sad!!!
    Books also were burned during WWII. 😦


  3. Our ancestors did not joke around when it came to preservation. Archaeologists and “romantics” had little respect for antiquities. Lord Elgin is, of course, an infamous example, but I also came upon this fine case in point the other day:

    “IN 1752 Camillo Paderni, an artist who had been put in charge of the growing pile of antiquities being dug up at Herculaneum, a seaside town near Naples, wrote to a certain Dr Mead, who then wrote to the Royal Society in London reporting that “there were found many volumes of papyrus but turned to a sort of charcoal, and so brittle, that being touched, it fell to ashes. Yet by His Majesty’s orders he made many trials to open them, but all to no purpose; excepting some scraps containing some words.”

    “The excavation at Herculaneum—which, like nearby Pompeii, was buried in 79AD under ash from Mount Vesuvius—had uncovered a literary time capsule. What came to be called the Villa of the Papyri contained a library of perhaps 2,000 books, the only such collection known to have been preserved from antiquity.

    “Perhaps 1,100 [scrolls] were saved, but early attempts to read these were equally destructive. Paderni simply took a knife to them… The attentions of previous investigators mean that most of the scrolls are now in pieces. [Nowadays, only some] 200 remain untouched.”


    • Amazing that anything survived us after reading that. I remember hearing once that an archaeologist was searching for Troy and ended up bulldozing through the hill that actually covered the city. Or something like that. Might be getting my stories mixed up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great question (and poem). I wondered that myself. How many books have been lost to history that might have resolved our deepest questions….I wonder.


  5. Interesting post. Makes one want to create a story where the author writes with ink (or types words) that no one else can see.


  6. Ryan M. Church says:

    Reblogged this on Legacies and Sequels.


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