The Scribe

by Barbara Crooker

Before the scriptorium, I worked in my cell,
plain simple beehive made out of rock.
Or outside in good weather: old book on one knee,
new sheepskin on the other, copying, copying.
Under the greenwood tree, listening to the cuckoo’s song.

By the end of the day, my hand grows weary,
and the sharp quill starts making wobbly lines.
But I marvel how far my inky fingers have traveled,
copying these books from across the far sea.
I don’t think of words, just the shapes of the letters,
as they steadily march on the plains of the page.

My pen drips brownish gall ink, makes me think
of the nut-brown ale that is waiting, along
with an apple, and a small wedge of cheese.
When darkness surrounds me, I’ll take to my bed,
ready to rise with gladness tomorrow,
and, once again, take up my pen.