Sunday, May 04, 2014

Poetry Sunday

I've always enjoyed reading, and I remember when I was young how we always looked forward to the days when the Carnegie Library bookmobile would chuff into the parking lot in front of the old Kroger grocery store to open up new worlds for us.

We'd enter at the front of the big, humming, bus-like vehicle and slowly search our way down the single aisle with books on either side, eventually reaching the desk in the back where the librarian was waiting. She took our library cards and the cards from the pockets in the backs of the books, laid them side-by-side to photograph them, then stamped the due dates in the spaces on those back pockets before handing the books back to us to take home and enjoy.

Nowadays, there's no more ritual involved in checking out a book from the library. You hold the bar code under the scanner until it beeps, take your receipt, and go. I miss the old way, as it's captured in this short poem by Joyce Sutphen ...

by Joyce Sutphen

I spend part of my childhood waiting
for the Sterns County Bookmobile.
When it comes to town, it makes a 
U-turn in front of the grade school and
glides into its place under the elms.

It is a natural wonder of late 
afternoon. I try to imagine Dante, 
William Faulkner, and Emily Dickinson 
traveling down a double lane highway 
together, country-western on the radio. 

Even when it arrives, I have to wait. 
The librarian is busy, getting out 
the inky pad and the lined cards. 
I pace back and forth in the line, 
hungry for the fresh bread of the page, 

because I need something that will tell me 
what I am; I want to catch a book, 
clear as a one-way ticket, to Paris, 
to London, to anywhere. 

Bookmobiles for nostalgia, and the books themselves to help avoid the humdrum of everyday life. I'll take that one-way ticket any day!

In a few hours, Agnes and I will be heading up to the Sheraton Hotel at Pentagon City to cheer for our friends participating in the amateur heats of the Washington Open DanceSport Competition. It should be a great day of fun and excitement. And beautiful women in gorgeous costumes, but that's beside the point.

Isn't it?

Have a good day, and enjoy the rest of your weekend. More thoughts tomorrow.



Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

I hope you and Agnes win the dance competition!

Fond memories of the bookmobile.

Grand Crapaud said...

I remember with fondness the bookmobile. It brought books that were more than the mass-produced paperbacks.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

A great tribute to the Bookmobile -- bringer of literature and culture.

Mike said...

I'd forgotten about the bookmobiles. It's been awhile.