by Almea Waits
A letter to the Pope from a lowly priest on the Black Death and what it has done.
I’m afraid to inform thee, but my travels to help purify the people of London is appearing to be futile. The nights are cold and the air smells of nothing but death. All I hear are cries of agony, sympathy, and insanity. I, your young friar, am unable to withstand this for much longer. My prayers are but mere verse in the bible of prayers given every night to our lord. I am weak in the stomach and my faith is fading. What God would stand by and let his people suffer? It’s low of us to think that our Lord would punish us for our sins with the death of thousands. What sin is great enough to punish us for eternity?
The Flagellants are whipping themselves day in and day out. They’ve formed their own cult for they do not think that praying on thy knees is repentance enough. Bearing witness to this is now the norm as opposed to minstrels singing. The lutes are out of tune and the minstrels have lost their silver tongues. Children can no longer play for the streets are always dark and empty. The pestilence is getting to them as well. We can not rid this plague from our streets with the word of God!
The symptoms of this pestilence are visible in almost all men who roam the streets on this dark and forsaken morn. Those who are not yet ill be blessed by whatever God wishes to smile upon him. These high fevers seem like eternal Hell for all who succumb to it. Delirium then strikes as well with the these large swellings around areas such as the armpit, the leg, the neck, or the groin. Pain and discomfort are guaranteed by this point in the disease. Drowsiness has finally stricken a child which I have taken to my care. She does not have much longer. No more than a day. What God would bring this upon the innocent children he brought into this world?-! What could they have done in their short lives? What could we have done to bring this upon ourselves and our children?-!
I cannot bear to see such lives fall short of nothing. Babies born are killed almost instantly by exposure. Dogs are being killed and blamed for the spreading of the pestilence! Almost half of the population is succumbing to such a wicked fate. The plague doctors are becoming delirious with their methods. They suggest using hot onions to cease swelling! They’re mad, and so is everyone else! Nobody is safe from this wicked plague that has flooded our lands, killed our children, killed our hopes, and slaughtered our faith! And with that, you wish to fill our weary and naive minds with tomfoolery suchlike our only God would wish to slaughter us all and punish us for our sins?-! Many may believe these hollow lies, but I shall not. I shall not slaughter my own faith with such twisted words uttered by a twisted man who only wishes for power. I may be going mad with the wayward rhymes sung by the small children who still live in this city. They sprint in circles, singing lyrics of the plague.
Ring around the Rosie
Pocket full of posies
We all fall down
They sing the song constantly, carrying posies in their pockets to prevent sickness and to purify the air that surrounds them. Such naive and innocent souls do not know what has become of the world around them.
Father, Pope Clement VI, I do not mean any disrespect to thee, but our God is as dead as the stiffs at my feet. I renounce my title, father. You may punish me however you like if I ever reach home again. Before I know it, I will have swellings around my body, ready to burst, releasing my soul from such an inferno from which I did not wish to know.