Destruction of Atlantis

The aged librarian cannot reach the upper shelves where Plato hides.
For yet a while his twilight lips knows by heart each metaphor, each parable.
He can still sense Atlantis, and though his eyes are milk, he sees beyond
the shadows of our cave and how its water slowly swallow sense of us.
He lights his pipe and in his notebook scribbles readings from the gauge.
He’s still a wordless crust, the ice of numbers preventing mouths to fill with brine.
The aged librarian in his parchment skin has words to sooth us still
while twilight slowly strangles winter solstice light into cloudfilled sighs.
The aged librarian’s breath is shallow, but as long as he remembers Plato.
we can sense the light of stars and wait for a brittle dawn to rise again.

The Destruction Of Atlantis by Nicholas Roerich

The Destruction Of Atlantis by Nicholas Roerich

Writing anything inspired by Borges is a challenge. To do it short requires long lines. Linked Kerry’s prompt at toads. Will link to Poetry Pantry tomorrow as well.

December 17, 2016

38 responses to “Destruction of Atlantis

  1. Well, my dear Bjorn, this is delicious. Love the Borgesness of it. One of the things that made me fall in love with his writing when I was a child was that he would always bring in other places, other writings, other people, concepts that needed to be digested… into his own tales. Your poems feels like that… full of Borgesness.

  2. Perhaps it’s because we are in the grips of a terrible arctic cold blast, but I felt this one in my bones. Your word choice is top notch and tight: “cloudfilled sighs” “parchment skin”. I was also intrigued by the mention of the cave and the gauge. It gave an apocalyptic feel to the work and another rich layer to crawl around in. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This piece delivers a post-modern portrait: a man of books at the edge of a time when books may become obsolete. Here is perhaps the last man to know Plato. The style is spot on and the format, with its sentence statements is perfect. I would like to try something like this myself.
    An excellent poem, Bjorn, packed with unforgettable images.

  4. “though his eyes are milk, he sees beyond / the shadows of our cave ” with the inner vision the journey is always insightful and beyond what physical eye sees…

  5. The first line is incredible. Highly original and to me, can be a poem already. At times, it brings me to Murakami’s Strange Library.

    Happy Holidays, Bjorn

  6. A wonderful poem, Bjorn, and so poignant, not least because aged librarians have become a thing of the past – as it seems will libraries if we don’t do something to stop them being closed.
    I love the lines:
    ‘For yet a while his twilight lips knows by heart each metaphor, each parable.
    He can still sense Atlantis, and though his eyes are milk, he sees beyond…’
    and .
    ‘The aged librarian’s breath is shallow, but as long as he remembers Plato.
    we can sense the light of stars and wait for a brittle dawn to rise again.’

  7. Very tenderly rendered here Bjorn, challenged by Borges – my last ‘proper job’ back in the day was as a librarian! But left before my skin got too parchment!!! Have a great holiday, my friend…

  8. This is magical, I can sense the wisdom of an old sage playing hide and seek with Plato

    The aged librarian in his parchment skin has words to sooth us still
    while twilight slowly strangles winter solstice light into cloudfilled sighs.

    wow – powerful lines – I celebrated the winter solstice last night and embraced the white light of winter.

  9. There is such a sense of choking doom in the second to last stanza (“twilight slowly strangles winter solstice light into cloudfilled sighs” is just an amazing phrase), and although the last stanza doesn’t say it will be better soon, it does remind you that all things change eventually.

  10. Luv the parchment skin metaphor. And as one who worked in libraries the greater part of my working life. I ask myself how long will the librarian be stare through those eyes of milk. Are we really a lost career option.

    Thanks for this ♥ heart stirring write

    Much love …

  11. Love that Librarian, always have, always will…can still hear her voice, when I would try to turn away and she would tell me, “Remember the words, you never know when you might need them.”

    Elizabeth

  12. This is expressed with such mystic elegance, it leaves the reader with the feeling that they have just read a mesmerizing passage from a book. I love the way, you challenge yourself with such a plethora of poetic visions and directions, Björn, and meet that challenge so brilliantly. A great piece!

  13. I especially love the parchment skin – and very much appreciate your aged librarian, being an ex-librarian myself.

  14. ” though his eyes are milk, he sees beyond
    the shadows of our cave and how its water slowly swallow sense of us.”
    Maybe because his eyes are limited to the Real? In these dark times, we need the seers to remind us of dawn. Thank you.

  15. I think the aged librarian is a master at work, all librarians are, they hold the key to so much knowledge and this reminds me of the loss suffered at Alexandria and I wonder what will happen to the custodians now that we are digital.

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