A personal encyclopedic entry on books (a poem)

Keeping things relatively simple today… 

Books are sacred objects
vessels that the stories and knowledge
of the past into the present
and then to the future

receptacles for our hopes and dreams
and innermost thoughts

physical manifestations
of the best and the worst of us

bound between covers
of paper, cloth, and leather
plain and ornate
precious and ordinary
inexpensive and priceless

Books are not sacred objects

They’re collections of paper and ink
stacked everywhere
prone to dust and neglect

repositories of information
rigid and inflexible
resistant to change

the first casualties
of the insecure
and the irreversibly restless

doorstops and paperweights
in the midst of the storm

they make excellent kindling
in a pinch

Books fall somewhere
in between
who we were
and who we want to be
and do their best to describe how

They accommodate us
whether we read everything
in one sitting
or spread it out
over days or weeks
or just hold them
in our hands

They travel with us
wherever we go
keeping us company
giving us something
to hold on to

When we’re done
they make no demands—
though they will
act as reminders
from time to time

(28 February 2018)