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Posts Tagged ‘library’


            with gratitude to e.e. cummings, Father Blakeslee and all the other hands
 
 
There was perhaps a woman
who saw a thin book of poems
left on a park bench, and because
it was beginning to rain, she picked it up
and noticed it belonged to the library,
and because she was a good woman,
though not much inclined to reading,
she returned it through the metal slot
so the librarians, trained in organization,
could slip it back on the shelves where
it was forgotten amongst other books of verse
until, at last, it was pulled from the stacks
to be sold for pennies by the Friends of the Library.
And a man, a priest, who was looking for fiction,
picked up the old book and saw
how the words leapt across the page
and he thought of a girl he knew
who thrilled with language and how it played,
so he bought the book
and wrote in red pen on the second page,
For Rosemerry, who loves words
with their sometimes and special times,
and even dream time texture!
And she read the inscription, then
read the book. Again. And again.
And her mind was filled with
su nli ght t
            o
            verand
            o
vering
and she fell deeper into herself
in new unpredictable ways,
and the words grew in her
like bindweed, tap rooted and
insistent, blooming profusely,
until they changed everything
about the way she saw the world
changed her the way lighting
changes everything,
filled her with wild potential
and a belief in communion and possibility.
For decades, she’s thanked Father Blakeslee
in her mind, thanked him for the gift of the book,
but more, for the gift of a path, the gift of potential—
the kindness a small act he likely forgot,
never knowing how it changed her life.
But never until today
did she think to thank all the others
who delivered cummings to her hands—
thank the librarians, of course, who curated it,
and thank whoever made the clear plastic sleeve
so the book would not be ruined in the rain,
and thank the woman who perhaps found the book
in the park and took it back to its home.
Yes, bless all who return things to where they belong,
bless all who help things find their “right” place,
things such as this treasured old book of 73 poems on my desk,
which smells of old paper and gratitude,
its pages open even now to a poem
about how it is we live in a magic world.

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Off the hot street and down

the narrow stairwell,

I entered the smell of books—

a musty scent of paper and ink.

How I loved entering the stacks,

shelves taller than I was.

Loved running my hands

along hardcover spines

wondering at the worlds inside.

I was allowed twelve thin books,

that meant twelve chances

to travel to realms where monkeys

stole hats and the Whangdoodle snoozed.

Twelve chapters in which I

was no longer an awkward girl

but a baker in an old village

or a mouse in an attic befriending a girl

who was something like me,

or at least like the girl I wished I could be,

a girl who was brave, a girl

who couldn’t help but stumble

every single time

into happily ever after.

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Library Cardiac

In the library of my heart

are thousands of slim volumes.

There are no rules

against dog earring pages.

Writing in margins

is encouraged.

There are many comfy chairs,

sage and amethyst rugs,

and surprisingly tall ceilings

with ladders for reaching

the highest shelves.

Dust never collects here,

the cream candles never burn out,

though sometimes

a chapter or two is lost

and no one notices.

It smells of vanilla

and lavender and old paper.

It smells of autumns

and moonlight and loss.

Is it any wonder

I sometimes go days

without leaving here?

But sometimes,

though I have in my hand

the key to get in,

I just can’t find the door.

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