Riddle Me


I look (don’t stare)

At the empty page

I don’t have to worry

If it’s crap, I’ll throw it out

Well, the electronic version

I suppose once something’s

Done in here

It’s never gone for good

Should that be daunting?

I don’t know

Mostly, I don’t care

Let the devil have electrons

God is with me here

And there


Words on the page now

Black tracks of gospel birds

The solution to

A medieval riddle

And a gospel message

The bird (the quill)

That walks across the page

Bringing new life to vellum

That was dead, the skin of animals

Stretched out

What passed for stationery



A monk moving the quill

One of a literate minority

Leaving  a message first to dry

Then to be read

Wondrously illustrated

Presented at midday

The sun to bless

The effort of the monastery


And then, for effect,

A library

Maybe thirty books

For rank to show what

Can be bought, in fact, for show

And with tutors’ help

To read

And then, perhaps,

To change the world


C L Couch



a thousand years ago, riddles were fun


Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, New Haven, United States

This is a 9 RAW photo composite. This library is lit through 1 1/2 inch marble walls by natural sunlight.