And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,

And binding with briars my joys & desires.

—William Blake


At first, laid down on clay tablets

like the footprints of a slender bird,

then, progressed through dried skins and pulp,

burgeoning past parchment

to a flood of writs so numerous

as to be incomprehensible—

mulled by the nine

in their archaic robes,

most prefer dead stone

to a living vine.