Rumour of a Computer Salesman Loose in the Cloisters
All is serene and peaceful within the walls of St. Beregonne… but – what’s this?
Brother Ambrosius to Brother Boniface:
A stranger drove in through the gate
with one of those ‘clever-phones’ we hate…
and in his hands a plastic case!
Brother Boniface to Brother Constantine:
A computer salesman’s on the prowl.
He’s creeping through the cloisters now
with plastic cases, snooping round –
you’ll see him.
Brother Constantine to Brother Diodorus:
He is not tonsured; a suit he wears.
His clockwork mind’s on keyboards geared.
Should you meet him, have no fear –
but watch him.
Brother Diodorus to Brother Eusebius:
He’ll greet you with a genial smile.
Beware – it screens a loathsome guile;
a mind all clogged with pixelled bile.
Brother Eusebius to Brother Faustus:
He expects to collect a handsome fee,
accounting for that smile, you see –
– but has he brought the quills we need?
Far from it!
Brother Faustus to Brother Gerontius:
He’s come here boasting startling change,
our scriptures all to rearrange,
make outsize screens replace the page!
Brother Gerontius to Brother Hieronymus:
His prophecies are empty shells
no crowds will he allure – well,
his gear is useless, we can tell,
Brother Hieronymus to Brother Jerome:
Self-vaunted dabbler in machines,
he’s here to sell us crooked dreams.
We know what innovation means –
Brother Jerome to Brother Leo:
His filthy stuff won’t work, I’ll bet.
But once he’s worried, he’ll be set
to blame the failures he has met
Brother Leo to Brother Marcus:
He’ll write foul letters to malign
us monks who will not toe his line,
the ones he’ll blame for doing fine
Brother Marcus to Brother Nicodemus:
Of all the fools we’ve suffered here
he takes the cake. Take cheer,
though, friends – let’s oust this mere…
Brother Nicodemus to Brother Orosius:
Why humour more this wicked man,
his twisted mind no better than
the world, which apes this utter sham?
Brother Orosius – in a bitter growl – to Brother Procopius:
Yes – if you see the swine today,
with wily smile but sales at bay,
do greet him in the proper way –
Brother Procopius – spitting on the ground – to Brother Quintillius:
He’ll sit, the rat, for hours on end
conniving, drafting notes to send
the Pope. He’s round the bend,
Saints blast him!
Brother Quintillius – grating his teeth – to Brother Reinhardt:
I’m angry now! The modern fool!
Interfering with monastic rule!
Confound this megabytic tool –
God – ? Smite him!
Brother Reinhardt – punching and kicking the air before him –
to Brother Severinus:
Wir mussen akt, mein Bruderlein,
geschmack him vehr zuh sonne don’ schein!
His schtupid arsch gekicken, nein?
Brother Severinus – lower lip quivering uncontrollably –
to Brother Tertullian:
Let’s all go back into our cells.
Drink holy wine; get drunk as hell.
Then thrash him! Chuck him down the well –
Brother Tertullian – with a malevolent laugh – to Brother Urbanus
and all the brethren:
Tut-tut! Please – reason, brethren dear.
Remember Church tradition here.
Let’s first instill the utmost fear…
then scourge him!
Brother Urbanus – eyes blazing disastrously – to Brother Venantius:
Yes! Umpteen lashes for the pest!
Cut ribbons off his scurvy flesh!
Let’s make his back a soggy mess –
then torch him!
Brother Venantius, shrieking insanely, arms raised to the heavens:
No! Nail him naked to a cross!
We’ll show the bastard who’s the boss!
His heathen soul will be no loss!
Kill! Kill him!
Abbot Willibald, emerging from his office:
Has anyone seen good Cardinal Shea,
the Papal Legate, due today?
He’s incognito, so they say –
God bless him…
Note: I sincerely apologise for this piece of nonsense, but it does warn readers in the main introduction to The Igam-Ogam Mabinogion to be prepared for the ‘downright daft’. I had intended another episode of Dialogues without Words, but time has not allowed, and this was much easier to do. Monkey Business, though, might bring a chuckle or two along with a spot of cheer into the bleak conditions which many of us now have to tolerate; I am thinking particularly of all my friends in ‘Annwyl Wlâd Mam a Thâd’ weathering the bitter winds and snow under lockdown conditions. Cheers to you all!