Humanist Heresy, Avignon
Susan E. Gunter
The words he penned outlive the tomb of time—
“We look about for what we find inside.”
A clerk in Clement’s court, Petrarch rhymed
on living angels. He and Clement turned the tide
from out to in—from god to man—from saint
to beast. “I am a sinner among sinners”, Clement boasted
as he baited the white bear in his menagerie. Taint
of florins, stench of power, taste of roasted
gilded capon, embrace of whore—this pope
indulged, sold indulgences—then saved
Jews, fed the starving, to the plague-stricken gave hope.
He and Petrarch so loved the world they braved
hell to tear the dark tapestry that Rome
had woven, making instead a human poem.