A gust reveals the lining of a jacket;
The order of words reverses in the breeze;
With what transparency and ease
The Latin cloak’s, when history’s winds attack it,
Inverted with a rigor that declension frees.
Though Rome was burned and grammar sacked,
What clothed their thoughts bequeathed their purpose;
Case endings underneath a pliant surface
Evert rhetorical folds intact,
And turn into the Vulgate: word and surplice.
NOTES for Students of English
The Vulgate – The Latin translation of the Bible made at the end of the fourth century, A.D.; can also refer to Vulgate Latin, the common speech of the early Middle Ages that formed the basis of the Romance languages.
Surplice – (Pronounced SUR-plis) Part of a priest’s clothing; a loose, white outer coat or gown worn over a cassock.