Symbiosis

The dusk arrives as a hesitant guest,
as an April sigh in May, stirring up
dust between Kant and Shopenhauer.
The aged librarian sneaks slowly
through the corridors telling guests
to leave before they turn into intruders.

He lights his desk lamp, picking up
the leather-bound volume, he left
the night before, he reads his rime aloud
The library walls cannot choose
but hear; at night the librarian
is library and the library his guest.

As night has fallen, his lamp is the orb
defining the perimeter of present
and none, and in the blackness beyond
there are no voices, only ears, but
when the clock strikes twelve the library
declares that it’s time to rest.

The librarian will stay, he doesn’t need
more sleep than what the floor
beneath his desk can offer, so
he says goodnight, as every night
and kisses, her, his mistress, keeper
of the wisdom, books, and in symbiosis

    him.

An Old Man with a Beard
Rembrandt

Today Ingrid guest hosts at dVerse and inspires us to write a poem in the voice of a fictional character, and having my own I will let the aged librarian’s voice be heard. He never really speaks, but talks through his actions.

May 4, 2021

25 responses to “Symbiosis

  1. I guessed right – the aged librarian strikes again. I love this series and this my favorite part, aside from the ending lines of being the symboiosis:

    at night the librarian
    is library and the library his guest.

  2. I am so pleased you chose the Aged Librarian for this prompt, Björn: the perfect choice of course!

    I love the contrast between:

    ‘telling guests
    to leave before they turn into intruders.’

    and:

    ‘at night the librarian
    is library and the library his guest.’

    Books are welcome where people are not, of course. And of course, I like the nod to Coleridge!

  3. My favourite character, Björn; I pictured him exactly like the Rembrandt drawing! I’m so glad the spotlight is on him and not his books in this poem, and that we get to know him better. I love the dusk arriving as a hesitant guest, the librarian ‘telling guests to leave before they turn into intruders’ and the way that ‘at night the librarian is library and the library his guest’.

  4. I love the librarian, and you gave us a deeper side of him and the symbiosis of library and librarian–
    “at night the librarian
    is library and the library his guest.” I love that.

  5. This is incredibly dark and enticing, Bjorn 😀 So much to love here especially; “his lamp is the orb defining the perimeter of present and none.” You have given us a glimpse into the inner-workings of the aged librarian’s mind. 💝💝💝

  6. Enjoyed the quiet symbiosis of the library and librarian. I see and feel the vibe of the clock striking 12 and the library ordering rest!

  7. every avid readers dream, to live in a library … enjoyed how he prised the visitors out claiming they would become intruders, not wanting witnesses to his private tryst!

  8. I loved this, an in-depth dive into the personage of the Aged Librarian. I thought about using Rod Buck, but I didn’t want to interrupt his escapades. I did stay with the Western motif though. This character is a joy to read about, but I doubt his is very social.

  9. For me, the Aged Librarian is the conversation between the poet and the mythic Orpheus, the soul in every sentence. Vespers to that book-keeper where ’tis matins before first light for this one with the same occupation! O that we could quit our day jobs!

  10. Bjorn,
    The first three lines alone are worth their weight in gold, but as the poem follows the shape of librarian, the cadences are mystically, magically, his, and you make him come alive. Wonderful poetry.
    ~🕊Dora

  11. I love the old librarian tales, Bjorn, and that the library has ears after it closes. Who knows, there may be voices too!

  12. The librarian will stay, he doesn’t need
    more sleep than what the floor
    beneath his desk can offer,

    Dedication at one of its mostest.

    Hank

  13. I hope you are putting all these aged librarian poems into a compilation book. They are great. I liked this…
    at night the librarian is library and the library his guest.

  14. Vivid descriptions of the librarian. Enjoyed your take on the challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed these lines, Bjorn :-
    The library walls cannot choose
    but hear; at night the librarian
    is library and the library his guest.

  15. A librarian was an awesome character to examine.
    “…telling guests
    to leave before they turn into intruders.”
    I loved that line! A nighttime life in a library seems so secretly enchanted.

  16. I am happy the words loaded and I read them before I saw the image, for the Rembrandt is exactly what came to mind with your words. So many wonderful lines in this! The contrast between who is the intruder and who is the guest, the way you give vibrancy to such a still man, your words are simply magical.

  17. Excellent! And this is so apt for his insular world that encompasses the world —

    “his lamp is the orb
    defining the perimeter of present
    and none”

  18. Haven’t been blogging much lately, but was good to read another of your librarian poems, Bjorn. When’s the book coming???

  19. Hello. This is fascinating, your regard for this elderly librarian—an ancient himself who is a keeper of ancient wisdom, like the old Celtic druids I read about in fiction books. Stumbling across this post warms my heart, me myself a librarian for two years in my assigned library-section, which I call “home” in all seriousness, and where I’d willingly live had it been allowed. Thank you for the pleasure!

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