People of the Book

By Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall (Rated G)

A Librarian is Your Fairy Godmother
For Miss Kelly, Who Captured the Castle

A librarian is your fairy godmother
Who blesses her children with the gift of books
Her magic wand is a date-due stamp
Which just for you she will then ignore

She lives with brave Cassie in Mississippi
And in the greenwood with bold Robin Hood
On Wildcat Island, in Narnia and Middle-Earth –
She sails you there on bean-bag pirate ships

And if you’re nice to others (so please don’t tickle)
There might be a gift of watermelon pickle!

A London That Never Was

The London of Boswell never truly was
And yet it is the truest London of all:
Coffee at The Turk’s Head, beer at The Mitre
Not much minding either bishops or Turks

A pipe and a pint with Johnson and the greats:
Oliver Goldsmith, Reynolds and Garrick
Hester Thrale, and Boswell, of course
Books and papers and arguments and poems

If we are going to visit London someday
We had better visit Boswell and Johnson first

A Poem is not a Helicopter
For Al Duquette

A helicopter is not a poem
A helicopter flies in three dimensions
If all of the systems are fitted just right
Otherwise, it does not fly at all

A poem is not a helicopter
A poem flies only metaphorically
If we rearrange the parts aesthetically
The poem might fly much better than before

One carries our friends wherever they want to go
The other carries our love to our friends

A Poetry Tool Kit and a Small Sack of Concrete Verbs

The sorting trays hold syllables and rhymes
While heavy-duty meter is stowed below
With a chisel and file for shaping rough lines
And wire cutters for merciless editing

Iambs are tightened with the box-end wrench
The ball-peen hammer is a strong accent
A few loose screws might constitute free verse
If they will bother to sort themselves out

At the end of his shift a worthy artisan
Picks up the excess adjectives and adverbs

And burns them

An Accident in the Scriptorium

One of the monks fainted, and bruised his head;
“This copier is broken,” Brother Armarian said.

People of The Book and of Books

The Thought became Incarnate in Judaea
And thoughts become incarnate in the books we read
For thoughts are tabernacles of our hopes
Tents in the deserts of our wanderings

Our dreams worked out in careful lines of ink
Tippy-tap-typed on a computer screen
Or copied from those tablets in the Sinai
Then bound by an artist’s hands, and placed in ours

The Thought became Incarnate in Judaea
Our thoughts become incarnate in the books we write

The Glowing Page

Once upon a time, when I was young
In wonder I opened the pages of Stanyan Street
And heard those sometimes artless verses speak to me
Through pages golden with the California sun

Once upon a time, when I was young
I received a message from Zima Junction
It was somewhat confusing in translation
In Viet-Nam the reception wasn’t very clear

It helps to understand that poetry never speaks
For the briefcase politician in his Jeep

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