Diary of the Plague Year: Day 85 8 June 2020: Boethius (477–524 AD)

‘Gazing at my grief-dejected face, Philosophy
Deplored my chaotic mind’ DE CONS. I.I.14
Just look at him! his mind has sunk deep down,
Has lost its inner light, become so dull;
It reaches out towards external darkness
Each time a toxic wave of worry swells
Into a tsunami, launched by worldly gales.
This was the man who loved the open heavens
And journeyed down the trackways of the skies.
He’d study rose-red suns and icy moons
And calculate the planets’ sinuous paths,
Subjecting them to mathematic laws.
This was the man devoted to enquiring
Why roaring hurricanes assault the sea
What spirit turns the sphere of the fixed stars
And why the sun climbs from the smouldering east
Then drops beneath the waters of the west;
And what ensures the gentle days of spring
Become so temperate that rosebuds pop
And multiply their beauty through the land;
And who at harvest when the time is ripe
Endows the autumn with its swollen grapes.
Revealing nature’s secrets was his life.
But he lies there, light of reason dead.
His neck’s encumbered by such heavy chains
His head is forced to loll towards the ground
To contemplate the uninspiring mud.