Poem: The lessons on the cavern wall

Sometimes I like putting thoughts and stories into verse. It’s a way of making things stick, and presenters need to find plenty of ways to make their messages stick in their audience’s minds.

Today I’ve posted on how human evolution led us up to slideware, which has sadly seen us forget everything we ever learnt about how to communicate. To finish the day, I’ve put this into verse. It’s not literature but if it helps anyone to understand and remember the importance of using pictures, then it’s worthwhile. I hope you raise a smile while reading it.

It all began long long ago
When man first felt the need to show
Ideas or things to other folk
And thus our first ancestor spoke.

We soon found words were not enough
And passing messages was tough,
But gestures helped, and facial signs,
Yet still the words were hard to find.

But then some upstart changed it all
And drew some horses on the wall.
Communication changed that day:
This revolutionary way
Of telling stories worked so well
That soon we all would show and tell.

In later times, we’d stand and talk
And illustrate with board and chalk,
Then later flipcharts took their place
And speakers drew and flipped apace.

Then overhead projectors came
And changed the presentation game,
Yet making slides took time and thought
So no-one made more than they ought.

But then, behold, technology
Would change things fundamentally:
Projectors, PowerPoint, PCs
Made making slides an act of ease.

Too easy, though, for soon we saw
More bullets than the First World War,
With walls of words for all to read
And since we can’t both read and heed
The speaker, no-one comprehends
And all are happy when it ends.

How sad that with such power tools
Presenters pass for utter fools!
If only they could well recall
The lessons on the cavern wall:
While hails of bullets look absurd
A picture tells a thousand words.

It all began long long ago

When man first felt the need to show

Ideas or things to other folk

And thus our first ancestor spoke.

We soon found words were not enough

And passing messages was tough,

But gestures helped, and facial signs,

Yet still the words were hard to find.

But then some upstart changed it all

And drew some horses on the wall.

Communication changed that day:

This revolutionary way

Of telling stories worked so well

That soon we all would show and tell.

In later times, we’d stand and talk

And illustrate with board and chalk,

Then later flipcharts took their place

And speakers drew and flipped apace.

Then overhead projectors came

And changed the presentation game,

Yet making slides took time and thought

So no-one made more than they ought.

But then, behold, technology

Would change things fundamentally:

Projectors, PowerPoint, PCs

Made making slides an act of ease.

Too easy, though, for soon we saw

More bullets than the First World War,

With walls of words for all to read

And since we can’t both read and heed

The speaker, no-one comprehends

And all are happy when it ends.

How sad that with such power tools

Presenters pass for utter fools!

If only they could well recall

The lessons on the cavern wall:

While hails of bullets look absurd

A picture tells a thousand words.

P.S. Kudos to whoever comes up for the best title for the poem 🙂

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