The garden of infinite choice

Before

His library is wider than its walls
and taller than the border of its roof,

It has oceans, mountains and paths
leading deeper ever deeper into forests.

It has galaxies and deep space void
were spiders walk on wispy legs.

There are salt and honey, both ambrosia
and toxin, both deceits and facts.

So before you open up its doors
look back with care and the world you leave

See how minuscule an ocean is,
how wee the world, compared to every dream.

Revised Version

The librarian’s domain  is stretched beyond its walls
and reaches upward, bursting roof and ceiling,

It’s Assembled from oceans, bluffs, and cliffs
with paths meandering, probing into jungles.

The library is galaxies echoing with voids
were wispy-legged tarantulas wobble.

The books taste salt and honey, toxin and ambrosia, 
and are brim-filled with deceits and facts.

So when you seek his atheneum
look back with care before you close its doors

Scrutinize the puddle we named ocean,
realize how dreams may gobble up your world.

In the Garden of Infinite Choice by Jeremy Henderson

Today we are doing editing of our own poems at dVerse. hosted by Peter who hosts as a regular for the first time as a bartender.

I rewrote this poem

September 10, 2020

19 responses to “The garden of infinite choice

  1. Loved these new lines
    “The library is galaxies echoing with voids
    were wispy-legged tarantulas wobble.”
    and the description of the taste of books.
    Well done! (I did enjoy the original as well…..this one has more ooomph!

  2. I’m so glad you chose to work with a poem about the aged librarian, Björn, and his garden of infinite choice! I love both versions, the first is simple and direct, but the revised version is more lyrical, more majestic in its tone and with its longer lines. I particularly love the ‘galaxies echoing with voids’ and the wobble of the wispy-legged tarantulas wobble – they are more futuristic and spacey – and the lines:
    ‘Scrutinize the puddle we named ocean,
    realize how dreams may gobble up your world.’

  3. Your title reminded me of a Borges story called The Book of Sand – about a book with infinite number of pages – a bit like your library. Such an interesting comparison. I particularly liked the last couplet in the ‘after’ poem – ‘scrutinise the puddle we name ocean…’ has lots going on. Thanks so much for playing.

  4. Once again, I prefer the first version, except for ‘wee world’ which I’d dump, but I’m never sure how effective the flourishes are in adding to the meaning of a poem.

  5. I thought the first version was incredible, and then I read the second one… And it’s mind-blowing. I adore it and the revisions you’ve made when compared to the first one. It’s a much more visual poem and holds, what I think, more depth in the details you’ve added to it. Regardless, these are both beauties to read. I enjoyed them both.

  6. This is exquisitely drawn, Bjorn! 💝 I love; “The books taste salt and honey, toxin and ambrosia, and are brim-filled.” This version is more lyrical and takes my breath away even more! 😀

  7. I think the dVerse world is dividing into those who like things pared down and those who like things ramped up! I think there are some great images in the second one, and I particularly like the ending, but personally I would strip it down again in a second revision.

  8. I love both of these, Björn. The simplicity of the first contrasts really effectively with the expanding multiverses you expose. And the ending of the second is absolutely marvelous.

  9. It looks like I am falling onto the ‘pared down’ side of the fence: I really love the first version, but I think the ‘ wispy-legged tarantulas wobble’ is a great addition. The title recalled Borges to me as well, ‘The Garden of Forking Paths.’ Great subject matter and wonderfully crafted.

  10. I love how this edited line turned out: The books taste salt and honey, toxin and ambrosia,
    and are brim-filled with deceits and facts.

    However, I felt more power on the original’s: See how minuscule an ocean is,
    how wee the world, compared to every dream.

    Both are wise and charming, Bjorn.

  11. Both are excellent but I love what you did with the second one. I compare it to “art is in the eye of the beholder” as “poetry is in the mind of the reader”.

  12. Hard to choose a “better” version. I like a few of the word choices of the second. Stretches, reaches, bursting. I think I would use compiled rather than assembled. Of the last two stanzas I prefer the first. Before opening a door as opposed to seeking. And I like the comparison of world and dreams.

  13. Both wonderful, though i love the first one best. Especially the spiders walking on wispy legs. Always wonderful to read you, Bjorn.

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