Monday, May 16, 2011


"The bookworm" 1850, painting by Carl Spitzwerg


Even as a kid, I remember longing
for a set of hard bound Zane Grey
western novels, over seventy of them,
or a set of “World’s Classic Literature”
printed on expensive stock with gilded golden
edges and glossy illustrations covered
in thin translucent paper to protect them,
feeling envious of old prints or movies
that showed me great private libraries
in manor houses and castles, with
twelve foot shelves and sliding ladders
to mount them, because even just
the images of them, of their perfect symmetry,
lined up like paper soldiers wearing
red leather bindings, made me covet
collections I would never possess.

Today when 1200 page novels
can be reduced to microscopic chips
of data, able to be carried in your pocket
like a legal tablet, I still love a languid saunter
through a paper palace, where the air
is thick with hardback dust
and cat box cologne, where pages are bound
and actual ink has stained wise words
into them, words that whisper seductively,
that dance, cajole, juggle, perplex, summarize,
postulate, amuse, baffle, elegize, extoll, celebrate,
chastise, and educate--reminding me
that if one can take the time to hand-churn
homemade ice cream on an August afternoon,
the taste will satisfy beyond measure.

Glenn Buttkus

May 2011

Listed as #28 over on Magpie Tales 66

Would you like to hear the Author read this poem to you?


Tess Kincaid said...

There's nothing I like better than to spend a quiet afternoon in a second-hand bookshop. You already know how I feel about old books.

Anonymous said...

I concur completely with you sentiments. This a dynamic and well-crafted piece.

Paul Bauck said...

I love the sentiment, but no one can take my Kindle away from me!

Friko said...

books, books, the more the merrier, for me, for now and forever.

Kathe W. said...

what a glorious surprise to find my blogger friends honored to be placed on your blog. and then I read yours!
Perfect! I too love the feel of a book, the smell of an old bookstore- dont want an e book...I want a well worn treasured book!

Ann Grenier said...

Lovemistibe your poem Glenn. I have the Bookworm book plates, and also adore that fantasy library.

Lolamouse said...

I so agree with you! I could spend hours wandering around old bookstores, when I can find them. I love libraries, spying on people's bookshelves, etc. I love the feel of a book in my hands. I do not own a Kindle. I love your well-crafted poem!

Brian Miller said...

i hear you man...i love real books...their smell, adds so much...i love going to the used book store and just sitting int he aisle to find treasure...

Lena said...

Technology is a pest! I adore the authentic touch! Chips I like best come in paper bags covered in salt and vinegar....!

Margaret Pangert said...

I love how sensuous you make books, libraries, hand-tooled publications, and homemade ice cream! Carnal delight! Love your imagery--great Magpie!

HyperCRYPTICal said...

I would love a wonderful library like that too.

Love, love books. Real books. Proud books standing erect on shelf after shelf.

No kindle for me - couldn't.

Anna :o]

Laurie Kolp said...

I still love a languid saunter
through a paper palace, where the air
is thick with hardback dust

...I feel the same way, Glenn.

Claudia said...

is there anything better than sitting on the couch with a book that smells of paper and dive on parchment wings into another world....nice...homemade ice cream on an August afternoon...yes..yes...yes...

Ami Mattison said...

Nice, Glenn. I especially like the opening. Very accessible throughout though.

Dark Angel said...

Your love of books rings clear in your voice :)

Dave King said...

The perfect antidote to thoughts of e-readers. Be careful, though,they just might send the boys to get you, this is so beautifully written.

Brian Miller said...

most def...i dont think i will ever let go of my books...i love the smell and texture of a book...smells better than a microchip...if you are missing any zane's let me FIL has most if not all in his basement

Gerry Snape said...

Cat box cologne!...great description of aniquitarian bookshops! I loved the gossipy, storytelling of this . Thankyou.

ds said...

Very nice. I love real books, too. Thank you.