Friday, 19 May 2017

Dormant Seed - Chetham's Library, Manchester (31/10-2/11/16)

People read
In a place which time forgot,
Frozen in aspect
Since its inception
In days of old.
Yet Manchester’s legacy
Has not allowed itself
To degrade in that time.
Its beams still ebony dark,
Shelves gated
And alphabetized,
The only atrophy evident
In those neglected tomes.
But as Henry Thoreau once said,
‘Decayed literature makes
The richest of all soils’ –
It only takes one reader
To revive a dormant concept;
Its only takes one seed

To start the growth within.

Times Have Changed - British Museum Reading Room, London (30/10/16)

A world within a world,
Past brushing shoulder with present,
Beneath a powder-blue Pantheon dome.
Wilde lounges tragically against his desk,
Looking more each day
Like the picture he hides.
Orwell and Wells
Discuss the room’s circular aspect,
Akin to an Apocalyptic craft,
While Lenin simply glares and tsks
As I enter without a ticket.
“Times have changed,” he says
Into his copy of War and Peace.
Wilde’s nose falls off.

“You can say that again.”

Dust to Dust - Trinity College Long Room, Dublin (29-30/10/16)

What is this quintessence of dust
Reiterated from shelf to shelf
Down an interminable hallway
Of darkened wood?
As they render, they float,
Hanging motes in the sunlight,
Disappearing into obscurity
And the penumbra
Of the embowed heights.
It is there he will be waiting,
A clotted shadow,
Until the light has faded
For fear of adding himself
To the floating film of the air.
He has only the name
The illustrious student gave;
Enough to warn off late night studies
Lest they become his midnight snack,
For the name upon their lips

Is that of Dracula.

Shakespeare on the Moon - Birmingham Central Library (28/10/16)

Willie Shakespeare stepped out of his room
And froze in a perplexed breed of fear.
“Where in the name of the Lord
Have they taken me now?”
He was quite used to the library
Having the occasional facelift,
Being packed and unpacked,
Relocated and recreated,
But this was another thing entirely.
Gone were the uniform free-standing shelves,
Replaced with sleek lighted casing
Pressed into circular walls.
No more were the strict heavy steps,
Now neon conveyors carried patrons
From floor to curvaceous floor.
Goodbye to the standard stone façade,
Hello to filigree, glass, and gold
Like a draping of ornate chainmail.
Willie Shakespeare stepped back in
And sighed theatrically.
“Maybe next time,

They will have taken me to the Moon.”

A Virgin Birth - Bodleian Libraries, Oxford (27/10/16)

Above a church in Oxford,
You can still hear history whisper
Of the fifteenth-century night
When an academic empire was born.

Invisible Congregation - Signet Library, Edinburgh (26-27/10/16)

If I should say ‘I do’
It will be among friends,
Those who have changed my life,
Whom I think of every day.
They will need no invite
But play host instead,
Welcoming my guests
With tacit grandeur.
I will see them as I walk
Down the aisle
And remember the adventures
We had at the turn of a page.
Imagine them shed a silent tear
Like my mother would,

To see me dressed in white.

To Feed a Poet - Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh (25/10/16)

Poetry exists on every level:
The thought, the written,
The spoken, the heard.
It must persist in every form,
At any time,
As the mind hates a vacuum,
It was a chance for Scotland
To insist
That such a place must be,
For the word to live both on
And off the page;
To coexist within the confines
Of the provided space.
A performance poet’s paradise,
The bread and butter

On which they subsist.

Dormant Seed - Chetham's Library, Manchester (31/10-2/11/16)

People read In a place which time forgot, Frozen in aspect Since its inception In days of old. Yet Manchester’s legacy Has not ...