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.