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Lay for the Day
14th June


1966: after four centuries the Index Librorum Prohibitorum or Index of Forbidden Books, which listed literature regarded as injurious to the faith or morals of Roman Catholics, was suppressed on this day. It was first published in 1559 by the Sacred Congregation of the Roman Inquisition, and ran through a total of 32 editions up to 1948.
Among the authors honoured by inclusion in the Index were (in no particular order) Rabelais, Descartes, La Fontaine, Pascal, Rousseau, Voltaire, Stendhal, Balzac, Zola, Dumas, Hugo, Flaubert, Sartre, de Sade, Casanova, Gide, Kant, Heine, Spinoza, Swedenborg, Bacon, Milton, Hobbes, Goldsmith, Sterne, Swift, Defoe, Gibbon, Hume, Berkeley, Locke, Mill, Calvin, Machiavelli and Erasmus.

Of the Abbey

itself, little remains. The site affords fine views of

Lightness falling
round each man,
a spray of sparks.
They are sowing in the fields beyond the wall
the white seed of our daily bread.

When it has sprung and sered and fallen,
gathered to the harvest home,
they wheel their tithes, sweating, up our hill;
from which passing wealth we pay,
till pride mounts with our due,
in thick smoke, thin stone and coloured glass
to the glory of God.

These are my content:
the tall, clear windows,
and the good light that they give to silent industry;
tireless walk of quills, my brothers
peeking through calf-skin into paradise.

by John Gibbens
from Makings ’77-’83


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar