What the visitor was told

You passed me — a ship
in search of shore and harbor
or as the gentle wind
turning pages
of my encyclopedia —
changing it from sage to sinner.

Seeker — I know your dreams,
how much you age
in absence of the verse:
I sense the scent
of sentences you lack.
I know you search,
But do you know yourself?

You might have seen me
between shelves; shadowed
by the books, and you know
that I can keep the answers,
to questions you will never find.

You know me as the dust in crypts
where syllables are kept buried,
bled as fire, born as sea,
as scent of soil or the music
of the final apple-bud
that bursts in May.

You know me as the warden
that keeps the library untamed.
You know me better
than you know — yourself.

Head of an Old Man
Jan Lievens

Today we have the Open Link Live at dVerse and I host. We will be live from 3PM EST to 4 PM EST. You may link up, and present your poem, or just listen in.

This poem is a rewritten poem I wrote a while ago. You can find the first version here

August 19, 2021

26 responses to “What the visitor was told

  1. “I can keep the answers to questions you will never find.” and “or the music of the final apple bud that bursts in May”. Wonderful rewrite, excellent word-smithing. Something magical, mystical and spiritual about the aged librarian, as if he is Master, Sage and Muse, dispensing wisdom, and hinting at his incredible back story.

  2. I love the whole poem, Bjorn, particularly this stanza:

    “You know me as the dust in crypts
    where syllables are kept buried,
    bled as fire, born as sea,
    as scent of soil or the music
    of the final apple-bud
    that bursts in May.”

    Stunning!

  3. “I sense the scent
    of sentences you lack.
    I know you search,
    But do you know yourself?”
    It’s reassuring to think that someone knows…

  4. Goosebumps! A stunning, stunning write, Bjorn! Loved hearing you read this gem at LIVE session. Especially admire; “You know me as the dust in crypts where syllables are kept buried, bled as fire, born as sea, as scent of soil or the music of the final apple-bud that bursts in May.” 💝💝

  5. What you did in the final two lines is extremely clever.

    I love picturing the librarian perhaps training a young intern to work the stacks. But it also has a very Garden of Eden feel—or a redo of Christian and Anastasia.

    It’s impressive how much you were able to add to the story in just this one very smart line: “changing it from sage to sinner.”

    I think you should change “encyclopedia” to “dictionary.” For the internal rhyme (ship/sinner) and for some alliteration with “dreams” in the next stanza.

  6. I too really like your librarian series.
    These lines really spoke to me,
    “I sense the scent
    of sentences you lack.
    I know you search,
    But do you know yourself?”
    I also want to echo what others have shared. The fourth stanza is outstanding.
    Thanks for hosting. I am sorry I couldn’t make it to the live event.

  7. I love the flow of sibilants through this poem, and the use of half-rhyme in the penultimate stanza works so well. An enchanting poem about a most intriguing character!

  8. The perfect cadence and balance of words here almost lulls the reader into thinking what is said is equally measured, which in a way it is, but it is a measure of loss and endurance, of painful knowledge, of the one who waits knowing more than the one who is not coming/destined unavoidably to come. Excellent poem, Bjorn. Everything a poem should be.

  9. BTW Bjorn – several of us have discovered that there is no sound on the video of yesterday’s OLN Live you posted on dVerse. Nor can it be heard going directly to YouTube. I missed the session and would enjoy hearing the readings. Am I doing something wrong? 🤔

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