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Poetry Magnum Opus

Silence (1952)


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The unforgettable reek

of old books and polished wood,

prompted a chain of thought through my brain.

And quietly, there I stood

where the slippery floorboards creaked.

Old men, come in from the cold:

took a solemn age, to read every page

and each word the free papers held.

Only a whisper of coal

from the hot iron stove, seemed to reach

for a non existent soul

who'd obtained permission to speak.


A painting high up on the wall

shouted Hiroshima's fate:

thoughts of the dead, swirled around in my head

whilst bumping the counter's gate.

I meandered off through the aisles

where adult shadows prevailed.

And the whole place shook-- when I dropped a book

and then swore... The earth stood still!

Loud “shushes” teemed at will--

I vividly recall

I'd be dead-- if looks could kill,

for the pettiest reason of all.

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An experiment with rhythm. :smile: The library of my childhood was sacrosanct, more quiet than any church in those innocent days before t/v. It was also an essential part of the community. B.

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Frank E Gibbard

Blast from the past albit a quiet one. Yes nostalgia-prompting of familiar circs. Not quite the cathedrals they were, your experience recalled flows well and a satisfying read over two spiffing (there's an old one) stanzas. Frank

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Thanks Frank

I still think of the dread that painting instilled in me as a child: how I bumbled my way past indifferent grown-ups-- whose only concern seemed to be a disproportionate code of silence as they browsed the books. :blink: B

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David W. Parsley

Hi Ben, I understand the lingering bafflement, even resentment, at this lack of perspective. But you captured the atmosphere well and for me, as with badger, it provoked a nostalgic longing for a respect for quiet, the aura of erudition and reflection.



- Dave

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Shush! Be quiet! The story of my young youth, not only in libraries ... no wonder everyone wanted to join rock bands!

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Hi Benjamin, I really related to this one... I was just thinking about how my preferences have changed as I age. I remember hating 8am mass because is was so quiet, only old people, no kids. I preferred the much noisier 11am family mass until only recently. I love the high energy and joyfulness the children bring to the ritual. My grandkids much prefer to attend mass with me than their dad who keeps them in line. Funny I never hushed him when he was young. BUT when I am without grandchildren and attend mass alone, I NOW to go the very quiet reverant 8am mass with all of the other old people. I guess I cherish balance in my life, the noise and chaos of children and the sound of silence. I loved your library tour.

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Thanks Tink. Bren and Dave.

I love visiting old churches: some in rural Britain go back many hundreds of years. It was popular when I was young to take brass rubbings from old graves in crypts and have them as decor. I'm not a religious person but I do respect the sanctity of churches. I recall the all boys school I attended and how the protestant service was conducted in the school assembly hall. The catholic boys attended their own church for morning mass, then had to walk back through the town to school; they waited outside the assembly hall to be summoned in for the headmasters morning address to the whole school. Some changes are good, some not so good. The library of my childhood has long gone and with it a reverence for the written word and some of the values of a bygone age. B.

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