Behind their spines

Did you know that when the library is abandoned, late at night you may hear the voices of forgotten books?

From behind their spines heartbeats are heard and from somewhere on the bottom shelf in the book in the room of discarded volumes unread sonnet whines to the deaf ears of a left volume of essays on philology, while on the upper shelf the biography of a rotten borough politician still preaches against your right to vote. 

In the library, you may walk alone at night and listen to every obsolete word begging to be spelled, but mostly you will hear the cries from men who believed in vain they were of great importance.

You can listen to the desperate lament of perished poets; recitals of recipes for lethal potions from books of ancient medicine can be heard.

But as the aged librarian patrols his silent halls the voices mute. The books know well that in his mind their voices still can thrive, and maybe if they stay polite, the librarian will briefly stop and gently run his gentle fingers along their leatherbound spines to calm their hearts.

Handelingenkamer – Netherlands

Today it’s Open Link night at dVerse and I wrote a little bit of prose poetry about the voices of all the books we keep. Have you ever hear the lament from books unread?

September 3, 2020

18 responses to “Behind their spines

  1. I see that he is a sensitive soul, and listens to their voices.

    I love the descriptions of those books like a character in a life specially those from: cries from men who believed in vain they were of great importance. Great series with this Bjorn.

  2. This is such a brilliant prose piece, Bjorn! ❤️ I love your “aged librarian,” series and this one is no exception. I have always wondered how books, those which have been read and those which aren’t feel 🙂

  3. Your aged librarian must \have studied at Hogwarts, where paintings come to life, and books take flight. One day you may have a whole volume of this series.

  4. Hoorah, he’s back! I’ve missed your aged librarian, Björn. We are equidistant form two local market towns, which both have libraries: the big one is open and the smaller one isn’t. I’ve been in the small one when closed and have heard the voices and heartbeats of forgotten books. Take me to that unread sonnet! This is so reassuring: ‘the librarian will briefly stop and gently run his gentle fingers along their leatherbound spines to calm their hearts.’

  5. Some sad and lonesome sounds coming from the library – love how you bring the books to life – this especially sets the personification tone
    “From behind their spines heartbeats are heard “

  6. I enjoy the aged librarian series, you make him come to life. I can see him running his fingers along their spines. Sent shivers of delight through me. I tell ya…

  7. I love your librarian series. Maybe it is because of my lifelong dedication to teaching others (adults and children) how to read. Literacy is power and provides opportunities to carry us to places of the imagination.
    The ending is a wow. It so speaks to me.
    “The books know well that in his mind their voices still can thrive, and maybe if they stay polite, the librarian will briefly stop and gently run his gentle fingers along their leatherbound spines to calm their hearts.”

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