August 05, 2010

A Greeting of Books

by Lex Runciman

Importunate, mild, ineffable, unknown and clear,
Each at home, the most composed of guests --
Books lean at you. From their rooms of utterance,
They proclaim all manner of human invitation.

Keeping what the endlessly old world gives
To the endlessly arriving now, they would inquire:
They wish to know your questions --
The ones asleep and those awake.

They ask what you assume obvious, hence sure.
What in your breathing the day's air announces.
What and whom you would wish and claim and keep.
Read: their answers are their answers.

But yours are this week's, inchoate, unuttered -- not yet.
A library's quiet is their answers waiting on yours.
And in their diffident, ever-curious chorus,
They encourage you: understand the dense and airy,

Consequential and not, dry and wet --
The water on your tongue. Understand the night
And all its stories. Listen, speak all,
And understand the day.

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