Liz Garton Scanlon (liz_scanlon) wrote,
Liz Garton Scanlon
liz_scanlon

Poetry Friday -- Bright Books

Your bedside table probably looks a lot like mine,
careening to the left with books open and shut,
dog-eared and not-yet-cracked.

Things of beauty and possibility!

There was a time (with small daughters) when I was so tired that it took me months to get through a book.
I'd nod off after reading a page or two.
I loved my babies something fierce but dang, I was off my game.

Now I can stay awake, usually, for a chapter -- sometimes chapters on end.
And then there are the ones we read aloud as a family.
And the occasional book-on-tape in the car.

Books, books, books.
My bedside table may be leaning but the world has righted itself...

Here's a book poem for today, from Henry Vaughan. Enjoy!


“To His Books”
by Henry Vaughan (1621-1695)

Bright books! the perspectives to our weak sights,
The clear projections of discerning lights,
Burning and shining thoughts, man's posthume day,
The track of fled souls, and their milkie way,
The dead alive and busie, the still voice
Of enlarged spirits, kind Heaven's white decoys!
Who lives with you lives like those knowing flowers,
Which in commerce with light spend all their hours;
Which shut to clouds, and shadows nicely shun,
But with glad haste unveil to kiss the sun.
Beneath you all is dark, and a dead night,
Which whoso lives in wants both health and sight.
    By sucking you, the wise, like bees, do grow
Healing and rich, though this they do most slow,
Because most choicely; for as great a store
Have we of books as bees of herbs, or more:
And the great task to try, then know, the good,
To discern weeds, and judge of wholesome food,
Is a rare scant performance. For man dyes
Oft ere 'tis done, while the bee feeds and flyes.
But you were all choice flowers; all set and dressed
By old sage florists, who well knew the best;
And I amidst you all am turned a weed,
Not wanting knowledge, but for want of heed.
Then thank thyself, wild fool, that wouldst not be
Content to know — what was too much for thee!


The flexible, generous and poetic Elaine has jumped in to host Poetry Friday at Wild Rose Reader!
Head on over there...
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