Bookshelves

I.
Only Bookshelves know that pressed flowers age best
Slammed between the pages of colossal anthologies.

That long forgotten tokens of memory are best found
Behind neat rows of novels,
In the hidden nook
Shadow-pressed between wood and paperback.

That vintage vinyls gain value as they are stacked to the sky
As a ladder to the palace of heavenly song.

II.
Bookshelves appear in Nancy Drew novels
As hidden doorways to secret passageways
In the heart of old, creaky mansions in the swamp.

In public they act like unassuming royal guards.
Silent sentinels of kingdom affairs,
Guarding the secrets of both the most sublime and mundane.

They are the sworn enemies of dust bunnies, and
Will exude their discontent when threatened by cobwebs,
Radiating an SOS to all pine-sol polish within radar.

Left alone in a room, they will hum
The tunes of age old hymns, and
Preach to a choir of sunbeams
Dancing in gossamer pews of dust-glossed light.

III.
Bookshelves first crept onto the conveyor belt of history as
Stacked clay tablets separated by rusty scimitars
From epic battles fought by Sumerian kings.

They graced the halls of King Solomon’s palace,
And were given the place of honor in Alexandria’s Great Library,
Polished to shine like Cleopatra’s teeth
Under the light of the full moon when the Nile floods.

They slid through the Dark Ages, tottering in the towers
Of feudal castles, their memory best kept alive
In the abbey’s of faithful monks, as they became
Bearers of illuminated manuscripts and sacred trust.

IV.
The secret teaching of bookshelves
Includes the weight of wisdom upon wood and glass,
and excludes the motion of flying moths towards the light.

This life is the cover page of a story that never ends,
Each tucked into a bookshelf too grand to rationalize.
A vast circular shelf in the sky, each book back to back,
Spinning to an angelic anthem waged in worship to the Master Author.
Bookshelf immortality, inexpressibly!

Valerie Sapora Rains 2004

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