The vocation of a librarian


Occasionally I share poetry here (either mine or from the public domain, dear copyright people.)  I wrote quite a few poems at one point drawing on my vocation as a librarian, and here’s one. Hopefully, by next week my schedule will have cleared appropriately for prose.

Deering Library

Entering the cathedral

thru well-lit catacombs

through silent halls, high stairs,

grinning gargoyles, stacked books, grey boxes, wooden carvings,

more echoes than words.


In a side chapel

a wine press guards the door

a round of keys admits the seeker.


Breaking the silence,


on a cold and windswept lawn

the leaves blow on

the geese fly by.


Books become stone,

stone becomes music,

music becomes wine,

wine becomes words;


Time stops,

silence speaks,

bells ring,

doors open.


Touch it like a glass

and it will break.


Something in this place sings

without meaning to.


(Written in 1999; I understand they’ve redone the place since. Tempis fugit. God bless Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar on Flickr, who took a creative commons picture of the outside I could use with this blog post. To see the inside today, go here for some shots under copyright by Northwestern.)

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