The Bookseller and the Poet

Carla Scott wanted nothing more in life
than to own a little bookshop
in the coastal town where she’d grown up,
between the Firths of Tay and Forth in Fife.

Guarded by giants of bridges and hills,
the ancestral home of monarchs
was comforting and safe, an idyll
invaded only by wind and waves,
no strangers to upset the papery womb
of a backstreet bookshop in a Scottish toon.

Until a poet arrived with a pipe and drum,
a troubadour with a silvery tongue,
who wooed the girl who lived in books,
who was unaware of her charming looks;
whose perfume was a blend of vellum and must;
whose make-up was a mixture of ink and dust:
an angel to a man of words and rhyme.

Each morning he’d wait as Carla opened up
and he’d stay all morning in the bookshop,
drinking her in from behind a shelf,
and then bringing coffee for her and himself.
At one, when she locked up for an hour or so,
they’d eat in the café next door and then go
for a walk on the beach, among seaweed and stones,
where he’d recite poems and sing her love songs
and, as the town expected, it wasn’t long
before they’d moved in together above the shop,
where they composed poems and lyrics,
organised workshops, readings and gigs,
but although they were blessed with words and rhyme,
no children appeared for a very long time.

It seemed their happiness would remain incomplete
despite modern medicine, potions and magic.
The local folk sighed and said it was tragic.
But then, one Wednesday, as they strolled on the beach,
they spotted a sealskin on the cliffs, out of reach.
The poet removed his shoes and his socks,
barefoot he courageously climbed up the rocks
where, wrapped in the sealskin he found a young child:
a black-haired infant with eyes huge and wild.

They brought up the selkie as if he was their own,
taught him to read and write songs and poems,
which he sang with a voice like the wind and the sea.
He swam and dived, a slick seal in the waves,
brought his mother shells, showed his da he was brave.

Happiness stretched into years and decades
and the poet watched Carla crumple and fold,
a page in the book of their lifetime together,
until the sorrowful day she faded away.

They buried her in the sealskin in a sandy cove
and prayed to the selkies to take her home.
Now the poet and his son walk the beach every day,
hoping they’ll hear her voice in the spray.

The Poet and the Bookseller

Image found on Pinterest

My response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday

It’s that every other Friday prompt again where we are given the first line and we write the rest. Length, genre and structure are completely up to us.

Mine is a first draft, which needs a bit of polishing, but I thought I’d share it anyway.


10 thoughts on “The Bookseller and the Poet

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