At a bookshop in Daylesford

Entering the door so indistinct

(you could miss it if you are 

casually walking by), 

I am invited to a world of books 

in winter Daylesford, a place of 

unfolding unkept rooms and 

strange crevices from another century, 

loaded with the shining new and the 

dusty old, the well known and the 

obscure, and curiosities that most have 

probably forgotten nowadays.


Neatly on shelves most are:

these pages bound timeless 

to each other, and these books 

sitting in families that never speak.


I am wandering around the stacks 

curious and looking at the titles,

thumbing aimless through the pages 

discoloured with the ages,

flicking off the flecks of dust and 

contemplating if I should buy,

or whether I would ever read

any of this grand population 

of the unmoving living dead.


And then it occurs to me,

as some sort of revelation,

that this shop is a mausoleum

for stories, for poems, for ideas, 

for thinking, for artistry and 

for dreaming—this is a tomb in 

which the bones are (re)discovered 

from time to time and flesh put 

on their dusty forms again in 

the buying and reading,

in the seeking and the found.


Here in this place also lie the spirits

of humans who lived and wrote and 

crafted these pages with talent 

and passion, eating up hours 

of their short lives in putting 

these words on pages and creating

fame or obscurity only to have

it sit in rows on shelves for the 

curious visitor like me to thumb

through the words that once lived 

for them so important and true.


I idly spent three hours of my time 

at the mausoleum, wondering 

about the point of it all, and felt 

more and more unease as 

I looked at the books on shelves

and those hidden, forgotten, 

under the piles of other books 

that never will be found or read.

Thousands of them there were,

held in time in a country town, 

relics of another lofty age

that never will return.


I left and never bought a book

from this old and colourless place ;

I went out the same indistinct

door and never wanted to go back.