Galileo, 1634

He only had to demonstrate the screw
and rack, these convinced me as theology
could not.  A gracious man, creative, wise,
the Inquisitor taught me patiently
how God can punish us, the forward ones.

I have begun to lead a pleasant life,
take my meals at proper hours, enjoy
the happiness of commonplace, sleep
a night entirely secure with all
the placid lowing members of our herd.

I confess I understood, before
my tour of that painful room, that men
who raise themselves above their kind
suffer loneliness, a rack
of my own design where at the wheel
I sweated bravely, my own inquisitor.

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