As in a Dim Scriptorium
—As if always
in some dim scriptorium, with inkhorn's
ear wax & honey & piss
pigment to ornament with gold
the flesh side of outspread vellum.
As if scrambling always to catch
up with a cantor's syntax, inflection
in Latin vowels of gospel & psalm
till my wrist & palm spasm & ribs
cramp my lungs when I lean
to scribble before those inviolable
syllables dissolve into air like my every
breath-fume over the restless quill
as its nib punctures again
the ice-crust of crystal reforming on the inkwell—
is the Kingdom of God like?
And whatever I've misheard or already
forgotten, reglazing with gold my own marginal gloss,
thumps hail-dull around me:
In parables ... the man goes in with his sickle ...
like a treasure buried in a field ... like a woman with yeast ...
What is the Kingdom of God like? Like
(go in with your sickle)
a dim scriptorium
where many-written & half-heard words
are mouthed beyond all attention,
swan quill stilled, dripping with gall & lampblack
ink. As if there were permissible
transcriptions of inattention,
missals riddled with elisions
to mark them aside (as if
in wax & urine & honey's
as unscriptable & dumbfounded: twice-blessed.
Copyright © 2012 by Bruce Beasley
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission