A precious, mouldering pleasure ’tis
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,
His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.
His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old;
What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty.
And Sophocles a man;
When Sappho was a living girl,
And Beatrice wore
The gown that Dante deified.
Facts, centuries before,
He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town
And tell you all your dreams were true;
He lived where dreams were sown.
His presence is enchantment,
You beg him not to go;
Old volumes shake their vellum heads
And tantalize, just so.
I close Poetry Month with the words of Emily Dickinson, on a topic near and dear.
In these days where literature, and poetry, is readily available online – free, or cheap – we tend to overlook the places where many of us discovered the magic of the written word; places where words in all the forms are also readily available, free and easy.
A library makes poetry, and literature, available and they have been available there for us for decades, and generations. Libraries make reading possible, regardless of income or status, age, or ethnicity.
Emily Dickinson found solace in a library, and so have I. I’m pretty sure you have as well.
It’s pretty amazing, don’t you think? There are rows and stacks of books waiting to be read.
Libraries are there to be enjoyed, and to be used.
Support your local library.
04/30/17 j.g. lewis