The Growth Point
Attributed to William Warambungle, Cat, Esq.
(with apologies to Edward Lear)

Adam Kendon and David McNeill in Albuquerque

Who or why or which or what
Is the Growth Point?
Is it round and smooth or square and rough?
Can you eat one, and if you did, would you find it tough?
Or can you swallow it down like pill,
That you take when you're feeling rather ill,
The Growth Point?

Is it made of gold or copper or zinc,
Can you grind it up and use it for ink?
Or is its substance, rather, not easily stated
Being something that can only be triangulated?
The Growth Point?

Can you pick one up and keep it warm,
And let it expand and acquire a new form
Or colour or smell or feel or weight?
Or does it constantly change its state,
Becoming at once a mere reflection
Of someone's abstract theoretical conception,
The Growth Point?

Does it float about on a summer's breeze,
Ready at any moment to seize
Some hapless speaker with nothing to say
Who then finds himself compelled to stay
And formulate something not said before?
Or does it, rather, insert itself
In some crevice of the brain, and then by stealth
Unfold itself in germination
To bring some utterance to termination,
The Growth Point?

Does it suffer much from its inner dialectic
Between images rich and categories analytic?
Or does it smoothly resolve this tension
By managing a clever semiotic extension,
The Growth Point?

And when Tweety seizes that bowling ball
And drops it down the drain pipe, and all
Does it then step in smartly to make quite sure
That it is 'it down' only and nothing more,
The Growth Point?

And when Sylvester swallows that awful ball,
And rolls directly from street to hall
Giving the pins a fearful swipe
Having squirted out from that terrible pipe,
Does it choose manner or does it choose path,
As it follows the action, and does it 1augh,
The Growth Point?

If someone is doing thinking for speaking,
Does it make itself heard with a terrible squeaking?
Or does it move hither and yon quite discretely
Lining up images and words very neatly,
In rows,
The Growth Point?

If cohesives and catchments collide in the air,
If Butterworths are flying here and there,
If metaphorix are struggling to give expression
And iconix are trying to make an impression,
Does it put all in order, make everything right?
Or does it just yell loudly, giving all a big fright,
The Growth Point?

There's someone indeed who knows I wot,
Who or why or which or what
Is the Growth Point!

He's sitting here among us now,
He will certainly be able to tell us how,
Thought imagistic and analytic,
Engage together in a manner balletic,
Wrapped up together in that one small moment,
The Growth Point!

So let us all raise our glasses high,
And cheer till our voices reach the sky,
And celebrate as best we can
This very unusual sort of a man
Who has plunged to the depths of deepest time
And retrieved for us
The Growth Point!

Communicated by Adam Kendon on 8 June 2003, in Chicago