Time-stained leaves of parchment lie
crisp beneath plate glass, as tourists
press to read more clearly of the past:
the ledger of a pharmacist, a city declaration,
recipes and letters in old english hand
just hieroglyphs to the teenager
standing by, so absent, twiddling his thumbs.
Well, not twiddling, but texting, as it’s called–
the hands all thumbs in agitation
over a small, lighted, beeping capsule,
swiftly pressing discreet bumps, hoping
to connect with anyone but present company
who just don’t get it, fogies fixated
on cursive swirls of bygone thoughts.
Calligraphers pay fond attention
to the tops and tails of certain letters
such as bee and dee and pee and gee,
but laymen viewers of old manuscripts
might only notice oddities. For instance
how those funny pothook esses
look for all the world like effs.
Thus if one reads in early writings
words like succour, succulent or suckling,
one might be distracted from their normal
uses by a bible, book of botany, or chef–
might giggle and pronounce them only mentally
so as not to rouse the texter from his play.
He likely wouldn’t get it anyway.