April = Poetry

I am so behind in posting right now - much more interested in reading than writing at the moment.  This post from Pages Turned resonated with me on the subject.  So despite my small but important list of things I should be posting on, I offer instead a poem.  It is April, after all.

I first heard this poem when the poet, Linda Parsons, read it in Abingdon, VA some 13 years ago or so.  I went to the reading with my boyfriend, now husband, and came home with her collection Home Fires, where you can find this poem and so many other treasures.

Book Lover

I would follow you anywhere, in the shelves
back of the coffeehouse, the auction table, the half-
price box, where the covers have been held
on forgetful afternoons until their corners are frayed
as old crinoline, smelly as attics and long rain.
Held by hands that couldn't put them down, hands
like yours in love with a perfect binding, the ivory
body of paper restoring your faith like a seed.

I would go into the mouths of school libraries,
the marble shoulder-soft, the stack stairs tight
as a tick, their lifeblood spilling out the memory
of sleeping with your nose in Dickens, the black ink
of the Thames, the fisherwives hawking their wares
at dawn, the sadness of orphans cold as the stars.

We could wade into stanzas breaking
like blue pastures at our feet, and receive
the blessings of skunk cabbage and swans.
In that field is a good day's chore of tilling
the deepest soil you know, turning word upon
word, bare rock into silver corn.

I'll follow you into that shop of rag and bone,
I'll be a leaf to mark your place in the pages
you were saving for a long rain.  I'll be the spine
you open to the tender light.

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