The skull affectionately known as Gaston
(after an old classmate at Avignon
who died in the plague of ‘21),
the ink pot, the reams of parchment,
the wall of books on astrology,
medicine, anatomy, astronomy, rhetoric,
these were the things of his study,
his refuge from the mundane.
Nostradamus settles into his chair,
cracks his knuckles as he stretches,
yawns and leans back, interlacing his
fingers behind his head
and tries to think about
what to write next. A battle perhaps
or the birth of a tyrant, maybe
another earthquake, a really big one.
He hadn’t done an earthquake in awhile.
No. This time he wants something with a little savoir faire,
some style, something that will get people talking.
His wife, Anne, enters the room with the youngest
of their sons in tow. “Michele”, she says,
"I think little Eloi is constipated.
Can you give him something
so he can go back to his studies?
His music teacher is due here any minute.”
"Ah, there’s an idea". Nostradamus reaches for his pen
and begins to write: "In the year of forty-two
the young king of music comes to death
straining at his stool.”
"Yes, of course my dear. I have just the thing."