Saturday, June 29, 2013

Poetry from the weeds

The librarians have been at the weeding again recently. We only have so much room for books and the new ones keep pouring in. And do you know how many books you can get at through one of those computers that are sitting where we might have had bookshelves once upon a time? A whole lot more than we ever have had or ever will have in our library, that's for sure! Not that I've ever seen anyone reading anything even resembling a book on one of those things. This makes me just a little sad at first, but when I understand that you can play clever little mind numbing games or watch bunnies eat dandelions on computers it makes sense no one is reading poetry on those screens.

Coincidentally what was it all those librarians were weeding? Poetry books! They were cutting through the poetry section like boll weevils through a field of cotton! Do they hate poetry? Actually, I don't know, but they sure don't love it enough to save a lot of it. Their little computer program tells them that some Pablo Neruda book has to go since no one's bothered to check it out since one of the Bush presidencies and off it goes to the book sales. No one sheds a tear.  Indeed, it's just me, getting kind of cross and sulky for a bit. But who am I to get all righteous? How much poetry do I read? I run into a Mary Oliver book while shelving in the stacks and I read maybe one poem all the way through. I don't even think of checking the whole book out. In fact, I think that's how I read every book of poetry; one poem and out, great, good, bad, one poem. Poetry is difficult, it requires attention. Half the time with a poem and with a poem's complicated, dense journey I don't know whether I'm supposed to catch it or eat it, fly it, pet it, run with it or just watch it.

Well, tomorrow is penance. I am reading a poem live, on blog. Some awful, wicked hard poem too. Right here, commenting and wildly misunderstanding it as I go, all to pay for all those killed poetry books, to pay for all the ink in my hands, all the books struck down dead while I whiled away my time reading Gerald and Piggie books.

Not that the Gerald and Piggie books aren't awesome, they are, but still, tomorrow...

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