Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Slowing at Faulkner House Books




It’s just a living room,
Really,
And part of a hallway
Of an old house
On an alley
Made famous by pirates.
Cheerful yellow
Façade,
Inside is
Another world,
A world of slow
Silence,
A silence of almost reverence.
Books.

Books on tables,
Books in shelves
Stacked to tall
Fourteen-foot ceilings.
Books aching
To be touched,
Handled, lingered
Over, loved.

In the hallway
Is the poetry.
Two large shelves
Of rhyme and not.
Dylan Thomas
And Eliot.
Lowell. Dickinson.
Plath. Updike. Gluck.
Whitman. Keats. Milton.
The Moderns.
The Contemporaries.
The Sonnets.
Everything.
A feast of words.

Two slender
Volumes selected, at last.
Full price here,
No discounts or
Markdowns.
No sales tables
Or price-cut specials.
Full price in
A small space.

Are you a poet?
He asks.
I write some, I
Say.
Are you a poet?
He asks, again.
Yes, I nod as
He smiles, finally.
I walk down
The alley made famous
By pirates, next
To the cathedral,
In wonder,
Slowly.

(Photo of the Faulkner House Books, Pirate's Alley, New Orleans.)
(Part of the slowing for the Random Act of Poetry. My five slowing words: slow, silence, reverence, linger, poet.)

14 comments:

Maureen said...

Oh, I just love that question asked and then asked again, until you -- correctly -- answer!

And isn't it wonderful how books slow us down, make us stop? When I was in NYC, I stopped at my favorite place, The Strand, where, the tagline says, there are 18 miles of books. Miles of books that, if I could linger longer, I might never leave.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

I love this:

"Books aching
To be touched,"

And you,
a man with words
aching to be written.

Yes, you are a poet.

L.L. Barkat said...

I like what Jennifer liked...

"Books aching
To be touched,
Handled, lingered
Over, loved."

And I like what Maureen liked too... the question posed, posed again... the waiting for you to say what you want, and are, and are becoming... a poet.

Monica Sharman said...

Same here---cool about the guy who knew to ask again. If others could have answered for you, he would only have had to ask once!

nAncY said...

it takes time to break in a new label, but, time to realize it's true and it feels more comfortable in the heart as it rolls off the tongue.

Glynn said...

The double question actually did happen. I bought 2 books of poetry (full price!), one by Louise Gluck ("A Village Life") and one by Susan Ludvigson ("Trinity" -- it's almost like a triptych and that's what attracted me). After he asked me the seocnd time, he said that only a poet would buy 2 books of poetry.

Faulkner House Books is where William Faulkner lived in 1925 when he wrote his first novel, Soldier's Pay.

Thanks for all the comments.

Chris Sullivan said...

Poetry intrigues me but I wouldn't even know where to start writing. Enjoyed your words.

michael snyder said...

Outstanding poem, Glynn. And yeah, the double question was particularly poignant. Conjured one of my favorite triple questions...Peter, do you love me?

Thanks for sharing.

Mike

shrinkthecamel said...

Wish I was there!

Prairie Chick said...

oh...... oh. I just LOVE this. All of it! Something stirred me deep within when I read,

In the hallway
Is the poetry.
Two large shelves
Of rhyme and not.
Dylan Thomas
And Eliot.

It beckoned me.

Linda said...

I loved it too! I wanted to follow you in and linger over all the wonderful books. It just draws me in.

notsofastbook said...

Well, you have just awakened a craving in me.

To enter the living room,
to slip down the hallway
of the old house
on the alley
made famous by pirates.

I want to slip inside to another world, that other world you introduced us to.

"A world of slow
Silence,
A silence of almost reverence.
Books."

Then, maybe I've already been there.

Because ... you took us there.

Sarah* said...

"A world of slow
Silence,
A silence of almost reverence."

This is my favorite part of your poem. I feel that quiet, too, sometimes. A special silence of the heart that only occurs in my private devotion, or, occasionally, while I'm lost in a beautiful bit of writing.

mom2six said...

Wonderful poetry! The line "A feast of words" so describes a book store. So many selections slows one to take the time to choose well.