A Fear of Reading

International Illiteracy

Once in another age
we’re told
saw holy pages
but the bold
then spurned
then burned
by men of old
whose clerical garb
and priestly name
entitled them
to steal and maim
the faithful, pious,
quick and dead
and keep their books,
their lies unread.

Changed the garb
in times enlightened
suspecting souls
some less frightened
science praying,
conscience free,
progress ending
life’s misery.
In labor sterile
deluded clerics
test coding lethal.
More than these blind,
who cannot see
grand viral larceny.

Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P..