Monday, 24 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 078

Today, I challenge you to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts.

Manuscript of a Young Monk Buried Outside the Abbey Walls

Friar Donal is a fool
to think two hours' illumination
is a vengeful punishment
when I can light all the candles
and draw whatever I like
Let's see how he likes it
with an illustrated psalter.
His eyesight is so bad
he'll think I've drawn jousting snails
and miss the phallus topped by testes
with the faces of the elders.
Bugger them all, for I'm out of madder
and the box of gold leaf is unlocked.

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