In conversation with the aged librarian

Sonnets echo through the shelves of the library,
disturbing ancient dust and ghosts of poets lost,
to keep you company, stir your memory,
protect your heart and soul from time’s frost.
Among your books, you are never alone,
with full moon or candle to shed light.
Besides, heart-learnt words in blood and bone
blossom into spectres in the night;
they kiss your grizzled skin and whisper in your ear
the words of your oldest friend – Will Shakespeare.

Kim M. Russell. 5th January 2021

Carl Spitzweg 021.jpg

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Conversations

Sarah is our host this Tuesday, welcoming us to January and a brand-new year. She tells us that she has volunteered to lead a walking and writing group in her local town – socially distanced, sharing poems and other writing, and looking for inspiration on the way. She explains that, as part of her preparation, she’s been reading about the craft of writing poetry, and thought this prompt would be a good way to share something of what she’s learnt. It’s interesting, enlightening and very useful.

Sarah’s prompt has been inspired by Kate Clanchy’s ’How to Grow your own Poem’, in which writing poetry is described as being “part of a conversation”, and she’d like that conversation made manifest by asking us to look back over the last year and choose poems that call to us – maybe from dVerse, but from elsewhere if we prefer – and write poems in response. When we post our poems, we should include either the original poem or a link to it, so that our readers can see the conversation manifested. We can also explain what it was that attracted us to the original poems, and how we’ve responded to them.

I chose to have a conversation with one of my favourite dVerse characters, Björn’s aged librarian; there were many poems to choose from, but I went back to February and found this one:


His books are ghosts of poets lost
the aged librarian is not alone
at night when moonlight kisses frost
on papers, words grow blood and bone
of authors that he knows by heart.
At night Will Shakespeare’s voice accost,
and sonnet corridors with art.

Image: The Bookworm by Carl Spitzweg (circa 1850), found on Wikipedia

43 thoughts on “In conversation with the aged librarian

  1. Yayyy! ❤️ I absolutely love this, Kim! 😀 The poem mirrors perfectly the allure of Bjorn’s and in turn beguiles the reader to have a closer look at the character in a new light. Gorgeously rendered! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well….as soon as I read the title I knew you were talking about Bjorn’s beloved aged librarian! Just a wonderful conversation you’re having with him here! I especially like these lines
    “they kiss your grizzled skin and whisper in your ear
    the words of your oldest friend – Will Shakespeare.”
    Well done! I’m excited to see Bjorn’s response to your post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We rarely realize how many terms slip their way into our daily conversations and writes — words attributed to the bard. He certainly left his footprints in the sands of time … as does the old librarian!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. An excellent ,tribute to Bjorn’s form, and character. Maybe we will publish another poetry book in 2021. Bjorn’s poem and yours should face each other on opposite pages, like book ends.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. a fitting tribute to Bjorn and the character he has so skilfully created! This one resonates deeply as someone recently asked my ‘current’ favourite book was … I had to say rereading my loved treasures, the old friends I’ve known for years …

    Take care precious, depression is a sad side effect of treatment … your love and kindness radiates out, thanks for being you!

    Liked by 2 people

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