Sunday, February 07, 2016

Poem for National Libraries Day

Here — a little too late! —  is a short poem to mark National Libraries Day, celebrated in the United Kingdom on the 6th of February, 2016.


It is a wayside house for passers-by;
It offers shoppers wares they need not buy:
It is already theirs.  Outside they pause
And glance between a wrist-watch and the doors,
And peer inside, and then surprise themselves
Ten minutes later deep among the shelves.

It is a sitting-room; it is a street;
It has been set aside for minds to meet
Across an arm-chair, or beyond a page.
It squashes miles and bends the gulfs of age.
It holds the civic treasure; how much gold
Would buy the joy it sows cannot be told.

It is a match for any shade of mood:
For here is company or solitude;
A laden heart of aches and sorrow will
Discover that it wakes and wonders still.
And anyone can nestle in a nook
And bury all their cares beneath a book.

It is the shelter of the thoughtful child
From boredom or the tediously wild
And raucous playground.  It is a reward
That parents more than earn and can afford.
The wisest, who should know, call it the crown
That quietly lends the life to any town.

The Central Library, Sutton, Surrey.

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