Monday, 3 February 2014

At The Library

Note: Prior to the second decade of the 21st Century, information was held in a paper format called books; these were stored in building mainframes known as Libraries.
Its sleepy silence grounds me; traffic noise 
doused in the sweep of a carousel door,
only the brisk clip of shoe leather
on the dull copper burnish of herringbone
parquet; the pattering of typewriter keys;
the rubber stamp's thunk-thunk and the crisp lick
of a turning page, dog-eared, yellowed
by impatient thumbs and tracing fingers;
and the ghosts of a thousand whispered questions,
wary of disturbing calf-bound reverie,
where the magnetic pull of a paper North,
travels pulp mountains and rivered ink,
stirs the golden dust motes, hung in the morning
window, and my imagination to flight.
©Angela T Carr


Angela is a poet & writer based in Dublin, Ireland. Winner of the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition in 2013, her debut collection will be published by Bradshaw Books in 2014. More atwww.adreamingskin.com.

5 comments:

  1. Really liked your poem Angela. The line 'stirs the golden dust motes hung in the morning window ' beautifully captures one of the many instances I enjoy when working in the library. Libraries by there very nature are modest and understated. Yet within them they offer so much, self empowerment, social contact without demands, warmth , light and seating. Everybody is equal at entry-no payment or criteria required. I think libraries are actually one of the few state funded institutions left which offer free space to a diverse community in which the sole aim isnt about consumerism. I hope they continue for future generations to enjoy. Thanks again for giving them centre stage.

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  2. Oh, Angela, this is beautiful. I'm especially drawn to the pulp mountains and rivered ink. I'll have to share this with my partner, who works at a library and is only just discovering the magic. This captures it beautifully, and resonates somewhere deep beneath the skin - maybe just under the ribcage. Thank you!

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  3. A very beautiful poem Angela, full of vivid imagery and stirred-up memories of how libraries used to be. Even without the (possible) rise of 'book-free' libraries, the memory of silent, parquet-floored, book-lovers' shrines becomes ever-more distant. We have a beautiful library in Accrington whose staircase is something quite special but silence is a thing of the past and the clicking is that of computer keys not heels on floor. Not that I mourn change... but your poem is both a beautiful memory and, to some extent, a warning.

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  4. Mmm, yes, very close to my heart this. I recently wrote about my own experience of returning to the beloved library from my childhood, which also had parquet. It was the first thing I noticed when I walked in. In its place - a beige carpet. My face must have been a picture. Got worse when I realised that there must only have been a quarter of the amount of stock than there used to be. Shelves were actually shorter, making what had previously been little alcoves to sit and browse all open-plan, and well - horrible.

    I worked my way round that place as a child - now I just feel grief for what it was. And yes Carolyn - silence is a thing of the past in libraries.

    Anyway, I'm still going, and getting as many books out as possible, while it's still there.

    Fantastic poem - thanks.

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  5. Thank you for all the lovely comments! I'm delighted at how this has touched on other people's memories and experiences of being at the library. I was thinking of our local library from when I was a child - dating from the 1960's, it had a real mid century vibe, with lots of wood and a sweeping curved staircase which seemed to me as grand as those in the Zeigfeld follies on film!

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