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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Checkout (06/09/11)

TITLE: the librarian
By Jim McWhinnie


she lives the hush with sober devotion,
it is her world, this world of silence
in this world so filled with words, ten million words
sitting silent on the aging pages
of thoughts scribed so long ago.

she walks among the rows,
the well-ordered rows in their designated places,
like monks robed in cloth of grey and brown
waiting in contemplative prayer,
each waiting in their pew
in such patient, patient prayer holding ancient parchments
in this sacred scriptorium,
this hallowed hall of scholars, waiting to be read.

she passes by in lady-like decorum,
gracefully, so properly,
a whispered shush, a wisp of smile,
then she continues on,
as she always does,
day after day,
book after book,
which everyone i do return,
some on time, some quite late,
she cautions me,
i vow to do my penance and repent,
but then she asks,
in her most softly spoken mercy,
“have you something to checkout?”
“i do”, i always do,
i always do,
so that tomorrow i might return,
to hear the echo of her steps
as she walks in all her proper elegance
and shares one moment’s glance
as i sit quite solemnly
in this silent, sacred space.

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This article has been read 728 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 06/16/11
I think of my librarian - the high school librarian I see every day through the school year:) this poem so does not describe the atmosphere she works in yet it does describe her.

Love this tribute to all the librarians that put up with us, the readers. Nice entry!
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/17/11
My favorite line was the very first one in this lovely poem...all the rest fell into place after it.
Noel Mitaxa 06/18/11
i love the images you have conveyed here, and this tribute to a quiet breed who never need supervision, because they always work best by them shelves...:-)
Beth LaBuff 06/18/11
I loved your simile of books like" monks robed in cloth of grey and brown" "waiting in their pew" and "sacred scriptorium" and later "I vow to do my penance and repent" You have wonderful images and comparisons! Simply excellent (as usual!)
Rachel Phelps06/18/11
So many lovely images in this poem. Makes me want to walk down to the library down the street. Great work!
Janice Fitzpatrick06/23/11
This has such an elegance to the feel of its words and breathes historic images into my own mind as I too walk "the well-ordered rows in their designated places."
Yet,I, with no library cart, come, in search of a classic, or maybe a mystery, a historical fiction, or adventure, whatever fancies me at the time. I hope that we can part from our electronic community of ipods,laptops, and iphones long enough, from time to time, to recapture the feeling once we enter the "sacred scriptorium." Love your descriptions of the librarian and her beloved "hallowed hall." Great piece!
Bonnie Bowden 06/28/11
Beautiful descriptions in your poem. I have worked in libraries before. I am glad they aren't quite so quiet anymore.

It was always hard for me to remember to turn my books in on time,since I usually wasn't charged fines.

Congratulations on your well-deserved EC award.

C D Swanson 07/11/11
Hello Jim,
This was like a walk back in tme - I loved it and it was as if you were talking about my librarian so many years ago. I loved it, beautifully scripted, wonderful imagery and made me smile really wide, and a small tear escaped at the same time as I thought of all my trips to the library with my dad who is now deceased. LOVED IT! You are truly gifted. God Bless you Pastor~ Cd Swanson