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An Old Forgotten Book

May 13, 2013


An Old Forgotten Book

In a stack, in a room
where dust knows no bounds,
in the library,
where their idea is to rent DVD’s
of Mork and Mindy reruns -
lies an old forgotten book.

It called out to me one day
as I walked past -
the raglan blue cover
gold embossed words on the spine.
I needed to stop and bend over,
and peer closely to read.

The binding worn at the top,
actually torn from the numerous times -
opened and closed -
when it had a value so coveted
the time one could keep it as a companion
was strictly limited -
one paid a fine for depriving another
of its words.
Now I could probably walk off with it – and never return.
The library might even feel I was doing it a favor
freeing up space for its new wing
of video game rentals.

Inside its cover was still a cardboard pocket,
a slot where its journeys could be traced -
like the GPS now records
where my car and I have been -
voluntary or not.

I lift the card and find a name — Elijah Pringle
and the date: September 14, 1954.
Could it be 50 years have passed
since hands last touched this paper,
folded open the pages,
saw the words take life in the imagination of the mind?
What does the author think now?
Does he look down
and wonder whether anyone will open its pages again?

Elijah — Elijah Pringle,
where did these words once consumed carry you?
Did they impart wisdom
or relaxation
or stimulate a mind to one great deed,
or prompt one small kindness?

I think I will borrow this book
if it is not now too old and fragile
for the journey to my home -
and like the elder one
I volunteer to take outside
on Saturdays from the nursing home
I’ll treat this long forgotten book
with care,
and hope the attention that I pay to it
will not be its demise.

I fear that when they find these stray old ones
they will not re-shelve them
but sell them instead at the next book fair
to raise money for their borrow a book on-line program
where somehow the pages self-destruct
after two weeks on the computer screen,
no fines are levied
no more shelves, no more dark blue raglan covers
just memories of the words in my mind.

Ray Brown

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2011 8:50 am

    Great poem! Check out these extracts from my published collection –

  2. Anonymous permalink
    May 14, 2013 9:28 am

    Amen, brother.

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