Encrypt, Or The Folly Of Erasmus

These dusty, exhumed platitudes
flutter the bleary eyes of the senile monks
sitting at their escritoires, lost in trite attitudes
while copying Biblical pages in meticulous chunks.
Their arthritic hands rigidly grasp quills
in a premature death-grip of pretention
whose tendons never loosen, fearing spills
and living in rigor mortis; embalmed in tension.
How strange to live through the unfeeling nib
as if all other flows were forbidden;
bleeding as Adam did from his missing rib
and thinking Eve birthed you among the midden.
A lifetime spent scribbling in the chill and dark,
squinting at faded letters in crumbling tomes,
fretting every errant ink splatter and drip mark;
becoming like half-blind, crook-backed cave gnomes.
Writing at their dreary desks, from day to day,
they live a dead language, personifying Latin itself,
seeing their life’s works pressed, bound, and put away
alongside countless others on a dank, unsought shelf.
They witness their god by ink strokes and flickering candlelight
deep in the silent monastery’s gloom,
never knowing how he once shined so bright—
a sunrise as he flew from his tomb.
Yet, still these mummies remain thoroughly buried
in their work, scratching the words of other men who are but bones and doubt
to keep them alive, as if ink and paper somehow carried
their souls to the radiance they write about.

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