The last days of the library

Even as the walls have crumbled,
in the final days of our Atlantis,
the aged librarian can breathe
in company of books.
He’s calm among the thought of elders.
among his lovers and his priests,
while streets outside.
are swallowed by the sea.

It had been years
since anyone had read a book,
and maybe that’s the reason for
the ignorance of waves.
At least they never burnt his books,
they just forgot.

And when the shelves begin to shake
and volumes topple;
when water fill the lower chambers
and the bells have ceased to chime
he sits in silence, waits,
for sea to swallow him.
For poetry of to form in foam.
For books to be reborn into a brave new world.

Atlantis by Konstantin Bogaevsky

Today Paul will host us in poetics at dVerse writing about community. Of being in the company of a group. Of course my librarian feels best among his books. If you want to have some background to my series, read the interview at Poetry United.
—-
April 25, 2017

27 responses to “The last days of the library

  1. The old librarian can materialize in any part of the past or future, a kind of Doctor Who sage that is eternal, an ascended master who chooses to serve, to preserve, to study, to learn, So here was Atlantis. How about Bardo or Lumeria?

  2. Reborn and be “new again” for the next generation ~ Love your series ~
    Bjorn, fantastic to see you again on the poetry world ~

  3. The story is saddening, yet hopeful that books will be reborn. In the end of days, I’d gladly be the librarian’s companion. ❤

  4. So good to see you back, Bjorn, and the community librarian! But how sad is this poem? I was glad to read the lines:
    ‘At least they never burnt his books,
    they just forgot’. Could be set in a Nazi dystopia.
    I really love the lines:
    ‘he sits in silence, waits,
    for sea to swallow him.
    For poetry of to form in foam.
    For books to be reborn into a brave new world’.
    I hope the librarian will be reborn too!
    It kind of reminds me of 2112 by Rush, only with books.

  5. This reminds me of the captain in Titanic

    I love this:
    “It had been years
    since anyone had read a book,
    and maybe that’s the reason for
    the ignorance of waves.”

    I like this time-traveling version of him … as if he could turn up in any library at any point in history. Or perhaps it’s all a metaphor for God, with the books being his people.

  6. Glad your back too Björn. I am sad but also glad the Librarian went down with his ‘ship’ for he is a fine caretaker of all that is of value. I shall wait for him and the books to be reborn.
    Anna :o]

  7. Bjorn! Hope you are well.

    A grim view, but with a dash of hope. Perhaps something will come from the deluge ~

  8. As a novice of the discipline of poetry reading and writing, I continue to grapple with the deeper meanings of the works I read and hope that what I take away makes sense. Bjorn, in the case of your well written piece, do I sense optimism in the survival of the companionship of the literary universe (and community) that books and libraries have afforded us, despite the threatening turbulence around? Food for thought and reflection I imagine has to be an ingredient of worthy reading of poetry. Please do not hesitate to educate me. Thanks!

    • The beauty of poetry is that the reader can pour in an extra layer through the interpretation. I think there is an optimism, in that rebirth… and as a metaphor the library represents all that’s worth saving.

  9. absolutely classic last lines:
    “For books to be reborn into a brave new world.”
    a sad demise of the community of books and readers with the lonely librarian as last witness

  10. This is so sad. I knew the end was coming … but still … sad.

    In your interview with Poets United you mentioned that the Aged Librarian is a metaphor for everything that we are losing and that you are open to any ideas on how a book might be. Here’s my 2 cents. I was thinking that one way that the various Aged Librarian poems could be connected might be with 2 or 3 lines of an invocation in between each poem (a summoning of help) or dirge (a lament) to, I dunno, the god’s of knowledge, perhaps???

    I have read that poetry probably predates literacy in the form of words that were recited or sung. Many of these were prayers or invocations. Returning to that, would be a kind of literary ‘full-circle’.

    Anyway, that popped into my head when I read the Poets United interview so I thought I’d pass it along, for what it’s worth … though, I suspect you have a fairly clear idea of the direction you want to take the structuring of the book.

    In any event, however, you decide to structure it, I think the idea behind this book is just so fantastic and exciting.

    • I have been thinking about how to connect the poems to consistency… and I think your idea could be one to pursue… I have also thoughts about little pieces of facts…. something really dry to complete the picture…

      • Oh, I like the idea of little bits of facts – though they should probably be facts that won’t change or be less pertinent with the passage of time which would have the effect of dating the book, as years passed. Quotes (from books) about books and libraries might be another way to go … like Cicero’s: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

  11. and the bells have ceased to chime
    he sits in silence, waits,
    for sea to swallow him.

    As in everything else there is a finality. Sadly though books being reduced to a ‘click and read’ takes the pleasure off from reading the normal way

    Hank

  12. Oh yes, a book would be wonderful….I remember the series on PBS about James Herriet, the veterinarian. Although very different from what you write, the same theme or thread ran through all the shows.
    Love the existential aspect of your librarian series

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