Tuesday, June 15, 2010

5/29/2010 – Day Twelve of England Tour: Books galore, what the deuce! Now I become Dr. Seuss.

As if my luggage

Hadn’t gained enough weight in books

The first eleven days—

“Book fair” is another term for “gold mine,”

So says the British Lingo Dictionary

That I’m making up as I go along.

As if I could resist:

Bronte books for two pounds each,

Orwellian farms with farmers impeached;

Sir Wilde’s account of prison life,

Polygamist sects with mutinous wives;

Angela’s Ashes of Irish martyrs,

Historical tabs of country charters;

Memoirs and bios in nonfiction’s aisle,

Kafka’s insect and state trial;

Crime and Punishment in a Russian court,

All unabridged, no classics cut short;

Salmon Rushdie within banned boarders,

Vintage books from elderly hoarders;

Graphic novels—Marvel, DC,

Dr. Seuss—the Lorax, his trees;

Harry Potter, accio books,

Round ’em up with a shepherd’s crook—

Time for bookworms to indulge,

Make our luggage swell and bulge;

Extra weight is the price to pay

And I feel very wealthy today.

I don’t know what came over me,

Writing a poem that rhymes!

I assure you, it won’t happen again;

Rhyme-less suits me fine.

What do my fellow travelers

Get out of people-watching

On the streets of Hay-on-Wye?

Snapping photos of that sweet-faced dog—

A mastiff mix, I’m guessing—

Sitting on the curb,

I can understand;

But photos of faces of strangers to us,

Going about their business,

Smiling, scowling, sunbathing in their underwear—

(As I saw in a park back in Bath)—

I suppose it’s akin to Facebook-stalking,

Only in person and across the ocean;

And the nagging sense of wrong

And violation of privacy

Keeps my shutter on the dog

And the pigeons at the abbey

Like beggars seeking sanctuary—

Feed one, thirty more flock to your feet.

I suppose it’s my books

That chronicle where I have been—

Masterpieces of the British Museum,

100 Facts to Know About the Ancient World

It’s like taking the British Museum home with me

Without lugging ancient artifacts across the sea.

Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer

Brings the Hathaway cottage home with me,

Both the history of its family seal

And the luxury in garden with the feather-stuck potatoes.

Stonehenge books bring its mystery

To the landscape of my backyard;

De Profundis, Ballad of Reading Gaol,

They teleport me to a jail cell—

Oscar’s Wilde’s jail cell,

Writing away within barred windows,

Jailed for homosexual acts—

The 19th Wife by an obscure author

Transports me to a polygamist sect

Where 19th wife, like Scheherazade,

Disrupts the cycle of altar imprisonment;

With Shirley, Villette and The Professor,

I get better acquainted with Charlotte Bronte,

Mother of Jane—Jane Eyre, that is;

With Angela’s Ashes I voyage to Ireland

And reap the ruins of miserable patriots;

Animal Farm brings 1984 to the countryside

Where Big Brother is a pig

And those guilty of thoughtcrime

Will be trampled in the stables;

Brochures from Blood Brothers and King Lear in tow

Provide evidence of my travels

Through London and Stratford,

As well as bragging rights

In the theatre community of FM—

Now if only I possessed one

From the musical Matilda—

Running this year, come November—

My collection would be complete.

Why is Leominster

Spelled the way it is,

When it’s not pronounced as such?

A silly language, ’tis.

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