Shadows in the library

There are moments when he talks to shadows.
He knows they care and never
interrupt to leave him like a light might do.
The moon, the sun even candles
shine way too bright for any conversation.

It’s like that girl he loved in seventh grade
who become his muse and metaphor
for poetry before she overdosed.
It’s like his mother who shut the door
to spend her time in bourbon daze.

Every light he ever knew has left but
in his library
the faithful shadows always stay.

Paul Whitener (1911-1959) The Sycamore Tree, late 1940’s, Oil on canvas

For Margret’s Artistic Impressions at toads. As often with ekphrastic poetry I do not like to write exactly about the picture but just capture one aspect of the picture.

18 responses to “Shadows in the library

  1. Holy (insert expletive here), Björn. That was amazing! So moving, and from the first line “There are moments when he talks to shadows” I was intrigued and pulled by this poem.

  2. Your librarian has suffered much. Good to know he finds solace in something.

  3. This is beautiful, I love how he finds comfort in the shadows – not everyone is brave enough to accept them for the loving places they can be.

  4. Such is life, for sometimes it starts earlier than for others. As first graders we a couple pretty cozy. Even intimate some, on the steps down into the storm cellar with the door mostly closed. Then her daddy took her out of public school and put her into parochial school where her older sister was going.
    The next I heard of her was that she had taken her life either as a senior or just out of school, I cannot remember the exact timing. Also another girl that I rode horseback to high school with for two years killed herself while still a teen. But later on her older sister and I reunited as friends. She died about a year ago. BTW, Mrs. Jim and I have been married for 44 years, still about as happy as a couple can be. One of my son’s dating partners took her life while still in her teens. The we’re no longer dating. She was Mrs. Jim’s cousin. Her sister and Mrs. Jim and I are FB friends. A couple of my HD buddies also committed suicide, one was our class Validictorian. He had a scholarship to the Naval Academy.
    So it’s not a recent phenomenon that you wrote of. We had limited drugs though, mostly some pot in our cycles. Plus beer, I drank more beer before age 21 than total since.
    TMI, Jim

  5. This is so good. Beautifully written … some wonderful wordcrafting in this. I especially was blown away by ‘It’s like his mother who shut the door to spend her time in bourbon daze.’

  6. Every light he ever knew has left but
    in his library the faithful shadows always stay.

    There is always salvation and hope in human tendencies. It is more of faith in those of strong resolve!


  7. That’s great poetry. You’very got to have shadow to highlight the bright. In art shadows do more than most thing to define and highlight the subject. Good play on words too, “bourbon daze”.

  8. Clever. It is so that our shiny things often lose their gloss. The shadows maybe, just maybe keep their truths, but then again are dependent on the light for their existence…
    Anna :o]

  9. Plato forewarned that poetry and literature could distance us from reality, like shadows on the wall of a cave. The art of great writing, it feels in contrast, is to pull us closer to some versions of ourselves and others, so that we might come to know the bigger picutre. Thank you for sharing Bjorn

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