I was told that these were dark times. How?
I scratch all day long upon my parchment.
All day long my hand cramps and burns.
I read in the ancient codex I copy about the marble columns
that held up the architraves of pagan Greek buildings.
Whole treatises on their temples to fallen gods.
But they are so beautiful to read!
The abbot has told me that in Rome there still stands
among the ruins of the pagan temples a colossal statue of Sol Invictus.
He watches over the rotting rooftops of the old city,
spying on the thieves awaiting travelers upon the Via Appia,
old ladies dumping their chamber pots
out of tall tenement windows, and pig farmers
herding their beasts through the fields that were the Forum.
He made it sound so filthy and fascinating.
My daydreams influence my copying.
In the margins I draw Plebeians and centurions,
they fight Virgil’s wars while I fight spiritual ones.
I can see only dimly the outline of the fringes of history
as Virgil and Procopius wrote it.
When I’ve been deemed worthy, I will be allowed
to work on the magna Vulgate.
I dream of the scriptorum now of the day when I can
copy the words of the prophets.
It has been 600 years since the crucifixion of our Lord.
What the devil thought a triumph was only a brief
three days, and what were three days compared
to the resurrection? So to is history to time.
And we are living in dark times, so I have been told.
But how dark can they be when
I have the light right here?