Monday, May 07, 2007

Michael E. Stone: A Manuscript

Thick yellow paper, brown-flecked, thick,
Laid and polished by hand.
Small, blocky letters inscribed
by stylus in carbon ink.

A straightforward, modest book,
standing upright alongside
jewelled, gold-crusted treasures
made for bishops and kings.

Copied in a village church
by a priest, for the love of God;
bound with leather and twine,
over wooden boards, lovingly.

A note by a reader,
three centuries ago,
asks to remember his soul,
and that of his dead mother.

A later owner ransomed it,
he tells,
from the hands of "the others".

Cherished, it enfolds
the past and future hopes.

Copyright Michael E. Stone

Michael E. Stone is Gail de Nur Professor of Comparative Religion and Professor of Armenian Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This poem appears by his kind permission.

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