The devoted monk of Atlantis

The zealous crowd arrived, ten minutes to midnight
to burn the scrolls they blamed
for rising tides,
for brine and water flooding lower levels of Atlantis.

The librarian tried in vain to reason
with the monk in charge,
who only yesterday was a favorite student,
“the scrolls are keys to tell us why and how”
the librarian pleaded, but his former pupil screamed
“they are heresy” and ran his blessed spear
through the thin body of his former master.

With blood staining his mantle
the anointed led his followers
through the halls of scrolls to torch the texts
once penned in Aramaic,
containing all the wisdom gathered;
its ash later being swallowed by advancing waves.

The young monk was the only one saved
to tell the story of Atlantis,
he told a tale
and how he tried in vain to save the scrolls,
the library, his teacher.

His body bloated from the lies and salt
he cried and ever since
he redeems himself, reproducing from his memory
the scrolls once penned in ancient Aramaic,
letter by letter, in syllables bleeding
he honors the teacher he murdered
in those final moment of Atlantis,
day and night he bleeds
but not until he copied every scroll
the library will let him leave to die.

Athanasius Kircher’s map of Atlantis

This is for Kerry’s prompt on speculative fiction at toads. Taking up a librarian defending the past. I expect that this is happening in the world in small steps.

June 28

14 responses to “The devoted monk of Atlantis

  1. ..he paid a handsome price! If only such as him would truly have to pay for their actions = our world would be a different place.

  2. Inconvenient truths have been an abomination to dictators through the ages haven’t they? Who can be brave enough to stand up to them?

  3. My goodness this is such a gripping account, Bjorn! I am still pondering upon “His body bloated from the lies and salt he cried and ever since he redeems himself, reproducing from his memory the scrolls once penned.” Potent! 💜

  4. Ah, the young monk reminded me of Coleridge’s ancient mariner to some extent. Being cursed like that for a futile abomination because of a certain zealotry provides a thoughtful lesson to have caution and a questioning spirit. We require that today. An interesting verse.

  5. This makes me think of the great library of Alexandria on fire and all those irreplaceable documents burning. What are we without accurate records of our history? What are we without librarians? My heart was in my throat as I read of this stalwart’s demise.

  6. I wonder how many, of our own zealots, will be left to write history with the bloody stumps of accusing fingers. Probably none. But one can hope (if the worse ever comes).

  7. I am glad he is bloated with salt and lies and is driven to redeem himself until he dies.
    Of the book burning, historical negationism still lives and breathes.
    Well done on the write Bjorn.
    Anna :o]

  8. The library will survive the monk somehow. Again this raises the question of whether it is ever right to burn books and thought.

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