NaPoWriMo Day 24: Medieval Marginalia

Today, I challenge you to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. Here you’ll find some characteristic images of rabbits hunting wolves, people sitting on nests of eggs, dogs studiously reading books, and birds wearing snail shells. What can I say? It must have gotten quite boring copying out manuscripts all day, so the monks made their own fun. Hopefully, the detritus of their daydreams will inspire you as well!

The Lagomorph Fragment

…battle enraged, bunnies most fearsome

Combatting conies wielding crossbows

Heavily armed hares in harrowing fight

King Lop-Ear led the laporidae warriors

Matchless killer, the crafty cottontail

Spear in paw, the unspeakable spike

Hounds fled, their fur flying

The rare dog outran that raven feast

Harried by hares, unhappy terriers

No greyhound escaped the angry angoras

Then hopeless humans, unguarded by hounds

No match for the bunnies, their fruitless defence

In battle felled by the lapin lords

Many a knight graced bunny tables…

–Scott Rhoades

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