International Poetry Month: "Perils of the Scribe"
Normally, I lock down my original poetry, but because this one was written for the SCA and won't be published outside of the baronial newsletter (if there), then do feel free to share it elsewhere, if you like it; just give credit to "Dawn Felagund" with the web url http://www.themidhavens.net. :)
Perils of the Scribe
The one that leaves the pen to take the sword
Can't vision the peril of written word!
Chance thee more than the risk of papercut
(Or "vellumcut," yet more precisely put),
For hath thou ever seen a scribe enraged,
Black words deluging forth and quill ablaze?
If thou should wish to spark and fan the fire,
Here are the words by which thee might inquire:
Upon the true medieval scribe's paintbrush
Use he acrylic, or prefer he gouache?
Marry! thou might wake and find thyself then
Amid ink-splashed parchment and broken pens.
Yet even when we curse and rage and rant,
'Tis done in perfect Gothic majuscule hand.
That 'tis not all a scribe hath cause to grieve:
I've grown allergic to acanthus leaves!
In pink, in blue, in red (but ne'er the green
That acanthus' hue is in nature seen.)
Should thou like a fright, come peruseth thee
One such pigment or gesso recipe.
Sing out, "Boil! Bubble! Toil! Trouble!"
Naught scarier doth a cauldron bubble!
So I did, naïveté gone, whereat
I cried, "Ohmygod! There is lead in that!"
And the trauma! O trauma concerning,
All the saints drawn, quartered, flayed, and burning.
Or the hundred-toothed mouths of grotesque beasts--
Most manuscripts are rated R, at least!
But no matter the irks and pains we face,
Never would we scribes want a different place.
Though our hands are cramped and our backs are bent,
Our eyesight before 1600 went,
Know we that beauty doesn't die with kings,
And even dark times something lovely brings.
Know we that words earn immortality
And our deeds persist o'er the centuries.
By our hands, the brightest greetings are told!
And, every day, we get to play with gold.
So behold our plaints! but bear ye in mind,
'Tis trompe l'oeil of the fairest kind.