SepSceneWriMo #3.14 – Poggio

The monastery walls echoed Poggio’s tapping cane as he walked alongside the Abbot of Fulda Abbey. To emphasize his words, Poggio would poke his stick harmlessly toward the abbot. Each time, the clergyman bat the stick away, dramatically swishing his deep-purple robes. The two men paused at the threshold of the abbey’s library.

Poggio prodded again. He’d been working on his German but, no amount of practice with his Italian tongue could force the growling of brutish consonants. “I will’a require ten additional scribes. Fifteen if you can’a spare them.”

Abbot Baden-Durlach, grabbed at the cane and missed. “Such a pest you are. We can spare three. But, I’ve received a shipment of fine vellum that the Pope would gladly pay triple for.”

“Ooh, making a profit on’a God’s work, now?”

“Mein Gott.” The Abbot skipped forward, out of reach. “Your work has unearthed secular material which should have been burned upon discovery. And the scribes responsible? Ja? Dipped in lard and fed to ze wolves.”

Poggio filled his lungs with the smell of leather, moldering stone and possibility. “God has’a blessed our work here. Knowledge of the world is God’s test. To learn the intricacies of the cosmos, and yet remain’a devout in our’a work and reverent in our thoughts. Doors must’a be…”

“Ja, ja. You and your open doors.” The abbot folded his arms, the fluttering of robes like a flock of sparrows. “You may have two additional scribes and the hides stored in the attic.”

“Four and I assure you your name and that of the abbey is’a prominent in our letters of’a commendation.”

With a dismissive wave the Abbot acquiesced. “We will see, won’t we? What commendations you derive from the sneaking and the poking you do.” Baden-Durlach paced a wide circle to escape the pesky scholar. “You should know, there was uncovered an alcove full of broken stools, rotting tapestries, but scrolls, too. Many scrolls.”

Poggio Bracciolini’s eyes brightened. In the dim light they looked like obsidian orbs, primal yet mischievous. “Scrolls, you’a say?”

“Ja. They appear to be written in ancient Latin.”

The scholar tapped his cane repeatedly. “And more candles?”

“What about them?”

Poggio had grappled with the need for better illumination. Candles flickered here and there, but never enough to provide proper viewing. Flames that taste sweet parchment are never satiated, the Abbot would remind him.

“Can we’a not bring in better light, or, let me think…” He tapped his way toward the narrow slot that served as a window. Chin high, encrusted glass distorted the scene outside: gnarled apple and walnut trees, and a high trellis entwined with dying hops. “The spare kitchen there, it is not’a used, correct? Its’a light is much better than this dark, but beautiful library, si’?”

“Ja, I suppose…” The Abbot delayed his answer. He fingered the spines of ancient manuscripts ready for copying. Finally, he turned to find Poggio pleading with his eyes. “Alright, you may employ that room for the time being. But if the monks demand it back, you…”

“Grazie, grazie, dear Abbot. Now, about this nook and its many, many scrolls…”

Poggio discovers the Titus Lucretius manuscript, On the Nature of Things


6 thoughts on “SepSceneWriMo #3.14 – Poggio

    1. Poggio is a real dude who discovered a radical and world changing document by the Roman philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus — 1600 years after the Roman wrote it. In it, Lucretius talks about atoms, the Cosmos, death and a secular somewhat anti-theist belief system.

      Liked by 1 person

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