Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Poem A Day, 021

For today’s prompt, write a “back to basics” poem. For me, back to the basics means jumping to the fundamentals. Maybe it’s me re-learning (or practicing) fundamentals–like running or writing–but it could also be a child learning how to tie his shoestrings, which can be a unique experience for both the child and the adult trying to give instructions and advice. Back to basics could also be re-setting a state of mind or getting back into a routine. In a way, spring is a season that gets back to the basics.

I'm behind again on Poem A Day, but this one will fit for the 21st. It's Back to Basics for me because it has a rhyme scheme and meter, so yeah... old school! For all of my librarian friends, I'm sorry. I was traumatized by the librarian at Vidor High School, though I don't even remember her name.

The Truth About Books

The truth is, I don't love libraries
Though I'm seldom without a good book.
A strange confession
in my profession,
And it probably bears a close look.

The truth is that libraries scare me.
I'm embarrassed by how slow I read.
Now like my brother
or any other
who devour whole books with such speed.

I likewise shrank from librarians
who ruled us with judgmental chagrin
a finger on lips
a harsh whispered hiss
So I rarely went back again.

A book is a world I crawl in to.
I like to get lost in its pages
Wrapped up within worlds
A story unfurls
in all its archetypal stages.

My heart envelopes each character.
I obsess over themes and theories.
So I, over time,
accrued many fines
enough to buy the whole series.

So now I'm devoted to bookstores.
I can peruse with impunity.
I order online,
without fear or fines,
to restore my continuity.
When you own a book, it's a treasure
You can dog ear or highlight a verse
when it makes you cry,
you can scribble, “WHY?”
or scrawl out a vehement curse.

Because books should be interactive,
we should embrace the soul of a text,
Despise the writer?
Call her a blighter,
Then pick up to read what comes next.

You can tell when a book is cherished
by cracks and creases on its spine,
so never judge me
and never charge me
for not returning a book on time.

The truth is, I battle with shyness
and for me, my books were an escape
the day-to-day fears
of bullies and tears –
only books could make me feel safe.

So now to my family, I'm grateful
for their devotion to written words.
A book is a gift,
a spiritual life
with the plentiful passions they stir.

I tell you, it makes no difference
if it's bound or a Kindle or Nook.
Classic, hardback, or new
Beaten, battered, or used,

As long as we give kids our books.  

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