Monday, October 01, 2007

In the Library

In the Library

for Octavio

There's a book called
A Dictionary of Angels.
No one had opened it in fifty years,
I know, because when I did,
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered

The angles were once plentiful
As species of flies.
The sky at dusk
Used to be filled with them.
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away.

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows.
The library is a quiet place.
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books.
The great secret lies
On some shelf Miss Jones
Passes every day on her rounds.

She's very tall, so she keeps
Her head tipped as if listening.
The books are whispering.
I hear nothing, but she does.

-Charles Simic

Who says librarians don't have special powers? I wonder if one of the singular strands that runs through all librarians, both present and future, is the quiet joy we've experienced drifting up and down those aisles of whispering books.

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