Bruce Beasley

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 re-forming on the inkwell—


attend, conscripted

& ever-distracted

monk-scribe: What
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

gold emblazing)

as unscriptable & dumbfounded: twice-blessed.