A keeper of the past

In spring the aged librarian sees
in books the bloom;
that from the words a growth
of pansies and peonies,
of columbine and blue forget-me-nots,
and there are daisies, daffodils
and bluebells in the poetry
he learned by heart.

But with his windows shut
he cannot see how gardens
are replaced with parking lots,
how tarmac has replaced the lawns
and how the highways eat the fields.

And does know how fortunate he is
as gardener of words
and keeper of the past?

Young woman among the flowers by Eduoard Manet

Victoria wants us to write list-poetry at dVerse, or even better to embed lists in a poem.

May 11, 2017

31 responses to “A keeper of the past

      • Heartbreaking too, to be the one to preserve the memory of a world that no longer exists, or that at the very least is fading.

      • Yeah. Interesting that by calling the librarian gardener of words the poet suggests that even that will fade too. Then libraries, because there is mention of a gardens being replaced. In both interpretations, yours and mine the librarian is nothing but history. Both because he might get replaced and because the world he preserves will be forgotten or lost and no one will care. Unless something changes.

  1. Another word-gem in the librarian legacy, the necklace of very valuable verbosity. Sweetly sequestered, shielded from some of the urban ugliness, he is still happy mining & mowing & tilling his books, up to his buttoned collar in classics, one of the last real tenders of word; for computers are heartless & faceless, and when he is gone there will be a sad vacuum of humanity turning to mist & dust.

  2. Ah, the librarian had best keep his windows closed. My father (who was a man of the soil) used to shake his head and say “One day the world will be covered in tarmac!”

  3. I love the idea of ‘Gardener of words’ such beauty and eloquence runs through your verse, Bjorn ❤️

  4. How very fortunate to be a keeper of the past. When I worked on a ranch once, I was a keeper of the long distant past. And i never let it get away

  5. I don’t know whether to pity or envy your librarian. Amazing how powerful a list of flower names can be. The library seems to be taking care of the librarian.

  6. The message of the poem, as I see it, is that one is expected to take action in the society, and the librarian may or may not be excused for being a dreamer. I don’t know, really, what to say about that. Occupation depends on so many things. What you achieve by your poem, is that one feels the urge to justify oneself. And that is not bad.

    But: Where is the iambic pentameter?

  7. Both wistful and insightful, you made me pause and think. The Librarian is such a powerful character in this poem and I love the juxtaposition with The Gardener. What a wonderful poem to read before bed.

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