“Sing, muse, of the anger of Peleus’ son Achilles,” begins the Iliad. The Iliad, scholars tell us, was poem handed on from Homer on down by voice and memory until finally some Greek wrote down what he had heard. “Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end, after he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy.” That’s another of Homer’s poems, the Odyssey, another song of voice and memory sung before the assembly until some Greek wrote it down. Plato hated the idea of written language. He thought it meat the end of wisdom, since humans would rely not on their memories but on marks external to themselves, filled not with wisdom but the conceit of wisdom. The tongue, the voice, speech, the essential and beautiful property of the human being: speech, language. When you go to the theater, you know the play is real when the actor opens his mouth and speaks—“Now is the summer of our discontent made glorious summer by the sun of York; and all the clouds that lour’d upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean are buried.” Poetry is a beautiful and precious thing: “I sing of warfare and a man at war. From the sea-coast in Troy in early days he came to Italy by destiny…” That’s Virgil, writing about 20 years before Jesus was born. We still read his Aeneid today--sing Muse, sing. We sing because the words alone don’t do justice. It’s the expression and the poetry and the telling of the story, the unfolding of necessity, the click of recognition, the pleasure and pain of human feeling. All the old poems began with an invocation, as do all our own worship services now, a naming of our God who was the first to speak: “Let there be light,” and there was light.