Oolong tea

“Is the library like woods or sea?
Do books resemble trees or waves?”

Maybe they are both, the aged librarian ponders
as he stirs his Oolong tea
while sifting through his childhood memories.

He recalls his mother’s hand in his,
still warm with spring
she taught him trees,
how boughs had voice,
how leaves were syllables
each tree a changing poesy,
each path a syllabus to follow.
The library is woods.

He feels his father’s hand in his,
callous, salt with brine
he taught him of the sails and waves,
how sea is meter, wind the strings
of songs; each wave another iamb.
He taught him
how the stanzas can be storms or doldrums,
how a lighthouse is another path to shore;
another syllabus.
Hence library is sea.

He sips his Oolong tea; he smiles;
his world is woods and sea;
his words are waves and trees;
his home the library, as he was taught.

The tea set by Claude Monet

Tonight Gayle is hosting Open Link at dVerse. Be sure to visit and meet us at the bar. Bring your own one poem and share it with us all.

March 9, 2017

34 responses to “Oolong tea

  1. Bjorn, once more, your usage of metaphors surpasses itself, in this latest install of the old librarian. As I picture you, hold your parents’ hand, as they teach you, about language and writing poetry.

  2. Ahhh…woods and sea, trees and waves. Such fantastic imagery to open up this poem. And I can’t think of a lovelier place than a library.

  3. I love the two perspectives of the library and how it can be both wood and sea as the teachings illustrate. A completely beautiful poem that somehow made me feel wistful. And like Grace’s poem, you touch on a lighthouse.

  4. The mother and father’s memories are rich, layered with voices, syllables, storms and seas ~ Both worlds are living inside of him, with the library his home ~

  5. The sea and the forest–two of my favorite haunts. Here I’m only an hour’s drive from both in the paradise of WA state. Lighthouses are Us today; smile. I adore your lines /the boughs had voice/ and /how sea is meter, wind the strings of songs/.

  6. I want to sip Oolong tea with the Librarian. He has so much to share! Some words I want to cup in my hands so they cannot leave. Such are these!

  7. Oh yes! The Librarian had to be an Oolong tea drinker! I couldn’t imagine him drinking coffee or English Breakfast tea. I love how you’ve given us a glimpse into his childhood, the merging of nature and language into poetry. My favourite lines:
    ‘he taught him of the sails and waves,
    how sea is meter, wind the strings
    of songs; each wave another iamb’.

  8. How fresh and original, Bjorn – I was a librarian myself, back in the day when I had a proper job! And you are right throughout – the library is all you say it is through your protagonist… A great read…

  9. This is probably one of my favourite ones EVER of yours, Bjorn. There is something so soothing and innately beautiful in both nature and libraries, and you really draw the parallels between them so well. Ah, I’ll have to copy it out and put it on the wall above my desk!

  10. lovely to be tutored in the important things of life from young and by people who appreciate them, books are woods and the seas, both equally a force of nature, this was very nice

  11. Okay you got me with the imagery of your words, the cadence of you syllables and the whole path you led us down. You really brought the scene alive!

  12. Brilliant work. I love the balance of this poem, how conversations with our parents help forge who we are and who we become.

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