Quill pens scratch, feet shuffle,
voices read aloud in droning monotones –
noise reigns here,
where books are born.
Scribes with hedge-trimmed hair
scrape sheets of sheepskin parchment,
tasting its pearly glow
with sensitive fingertips.
Purposeful clutter crowds around –
jars of coloured ink with a hundred smells;
knives for trimming quills;
needles, thread, cover-leather.
A monk with nose so sharp
it nearly punches through his skin
strides up and down, back and forth,
fingers all stained red and blue and green,
take the pages full of graceful script,
with images, borders, curls so bright
it takes more than the eye to see them.
A hundred years from now
someone will hold a manuscript made here,
feel every life that touched it,
hear every voice
whose hand scrawled bored, laughing notes
in the margins.
~ Marta Ziemelis. Written in Dubai, copyright 2013.