Before him are long tall margins of vellum
and on the page the characters sacredly drawn.
His pens sleep. Beside them the onyx eye
of the ink. And he looks at the table.
Then opening small vessels of folium,
of indigo and orpiment, white and red lead,
he offers his hands. The kermes, or carmine red,
weeps with Christ's blood, remembering.
And the ultramarine, elaborately prepared
by the Arabs and as precious as gold,
rests in its silver cask, on which are
peacock heads with eyes of lapis lazuli.
A door creaks. Brother Jasper slips out
for another night of the flesh. Down the hall
the old abbot himself falls dangerously into
his sleep, the other cells collapsing in darkness.
But in the marginalist's, verdigris is opened,
the extract of malachite. Outside, where
the dark muscles its way toward the coast
or plays the empty eyeholes of a Viking's mask,
there is dead weight. Inside there's oil light,
and a slim green line that begins its pilgrimage
across a maiden page.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
One for the medievalists.
And now back to your regularly scheduled Nebraska poets! Here's one from Don Welch. I think New Kid might like this, for the ink images as well as the context. :)