Thursday, March 29, 2012

83. The Black Death

After the War of a Hundred Years
Things went well for Europe.
They started to emerge from the darkness.
Then the world changed.
Trade with China made people rich
But a problem soon arose.
The merchants with goods and wares
Brought rats with fleas and disease.
A plague swept through Europe from the east.
Not a single place was safe.
No one could escape
Death’s horrible black cloak
Or his sharpened shining scythe.
The bravest act a man saw
Was a woman sewing herself into her own shroud.
Death and destruction ran rampant through the streets.
Peasants rioted and revolted.
“It’s the end of the world!”
An Italian would say.
Nothing could be done.
Passion plays were performed.
Self-abuse inflicted.
People blamed others.
They blamed Jews.
Placing them with heretics and witches.
People went on pilgrimages
As Chaucer’s Tales
Kept them entertained
With stories long ago.
The plague continued to wreak havoc
In the countries
Demolishing old ways.

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