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
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
100 Facts to Know About the Ancient World—
It’s like taking the
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.
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
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
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.
Spelled the way it is,
When it’s not pronounced as such?
A silly language, ’tis.