No Thieves in the library at night

At dusk the librarian anticipates the night
and gets ready to to close the doors;
he walks the halls, making sure
that every visitor and thief have left,
and as shadows travel in his wake

he can hear again
voices from the volumes:
laments from every book unread
an impassioned arguments between an essay 
and a science-fiction book, 
a misplaced cookbook reciting 
recipes for amanita stew to 
a gaggle 
of giggling pocket-books of crime;
and a lonely book of poetry
reciting sonnets 
to make-believe ikebana flower arrangements
on table standing by a wall,
while a rowdy quibble is brewing
between a less important volume 
of  Encyclopedia Britannica
and the 1987 telephone directory 
of Upper East Side 
on where one may procure 
the best ossobuco  in the world.

The librarian have learned 
to never, ever
argue with the books, 
and listens, learns how even random
words can stitch themselves to sense.
he gently drifts to sleep
only waking when the silence falls
as the daylight slowly tiptoes
through the dust of empty halls.

He sighs and opens up the doors
again, knowing that returning visitors
(and thieves) soon will soil his soul
with pointless queries 
that the books keep buried from the world,

Even at the break of dawn
the librarian anticipates return of the dusk.

An Old Man with a Large Beard
Rembrandt

We are writing poem in circles, with Peter at dVerse. I thought that the library would be a place of infinite in space-time. I can imagine that the the library only comes to life at night.

March 23, 2021.

25 responses to “No Thieves in the library at night

  1. I was hoping you would write a librarian poem, and I absolutely love this one! The second stanza amused me, but I particularly liked how the librarian has learned not to argue with the books, but to listen.

  2. I’m starting to think of this place as like Dr. Who’s Tardis but the Tardis doesn’t move, and the Aged Librarian never ages. I love reading about what takes place there as it glitters with everyday magic.

  3. Oh gosh this is expertly and richly woven 😀 I must have read this poem three times and still can’t get enough. So much to love and relish here especially;

    “he can hear again
    voices from the volumes:
    laments from every book unread
    an impassioned arguments between an essay
    and a science-fiction book,
    a misplaced cookbook reciting
    recipes for amanita stew.”

    💝💝💝💝

  4. What a wonderful interpretation, I believe this happens. I’m not sure of the role of the thief in this piece. Though, who is stealing from whom? Could the thief be the books? The librarian? Or maybe it is the daylight… intriguing poem Bjorn!

  5. Like a night at the museum the books come to life! Such a great concept… and the old librarian listens… Most want to debate and argue. Well done.

  6. Read this more than once or twice simply to absorb the seamless connection between librarian and library, and in contrast, the incongruous but convivial pairings of books and collections. This librarian is becoming more and more a mythic character, his occupation an outworking of his very being.

  7. I love imagining this library…and being a sneak thief who stays in the stacks after hours to dream among the quarrelling reference volumes and emotive books of poetry. I imagine it is very hard to get the children’s section to settle down to sleep at all!

  8. I think I could hear the voices of the volumes on the shelf. So many tales to share. I tend to listen to the voices of romance and fantasy. I could get lost in those shelves for days.

  9. Oh this is brilliant! I just love the idea of the books coming alive and talking to one another, even if it’s just in the librarian’s mind: who’s to say that it isn’t real?

  10. Even at the break of dawn
    the librarian anticipates return of the dusk.

    It typically brings to the fore the dilemma of books on the shelves having to compete with the new devices of social media. Youngsters never know what they are missing!. Likewise the librarian wishing to get it over with

    Hank

  11. This is an epic aged librarian poem, Björn! I love the shift from dusk to dawn and the anticipation of dusk, the circle completed. I’m glad he’s still hearing the ‘voices from the volumes’ (brilliantly foregrounded with alliteration – the books are important!); feel so sorry for the unread books; and love the thought of ‘impassioned arguments between an essay and a science-fiction book’. My favourite images are of:
    ‘…a lonely book of poetry
    reciting sonnets
    to make-believe ikebana flower arrangements’
    and daylight slowly tiptoeing through the dust of empty halls. Yes, best not to argue with the books.

  12. I smiled at how even the phone book had something profound and necessary to contribute, I think I need to find me some ossobuco. I am glad he is keeping watch, and being watched.

  13. When I was a child I would imagine all my toys coming alive at night. It was magical just like your poem.
    I loved these lines “ and a lonely book of poetry
    reciting sonnets
    to make-believe ikebana flower arrangements
    on table standing by a wall,”
    How delightful! ☺️

  14. Wow! This is a wonderful weave indeed. Really love the aged librarian and his books. I especially fell for this stanza:

    The librarian have learned
    to never, ever
    argue with the books,
    and listens, learns how even random
    words can stitch themselves to sense.
    he gently drifts to sleep
    only waking when the silence falls
    as the daylight slowly tiptoes
    through the dust of empty halls.

    You really should collect these into a collection, perhaps with photos of old libraries.

  15. This poem is awesome. I love the idea of the library, where you’re supposed to be quiet and everything, being the place where the books party and socialize at night after all the people have gone home.

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