Saturday, June 09, 2007

A poem on books

As mentioned yesterday there is a great poem about books in the Fruits of the Earth which gets you thinking about the consumption of literature and the differences and wonders that books can deliver:


Some books one reads sitting on a narrow bench
In front of a school desk.

Some books one reads out walking
(A little too because of their size);
Some are for the woods,
Some for other country places –
Nobiscum rusticantur, says Cicero.

There are some I have read in diligences;
Some others lying in a hay-loft.
There are some that make us believe in the existence of the soul;
Others that make us despair of it.
Some that prove there is a God;
Others that fail to.

Some that can only be admitted into private libraries;
Some that have been praised by many eminent critics.

There are some that treat of nothing but apiculture
And might be thought a little technical;
Others in which there is so much talk of nature,
That after reading them there is no need to go out for a walk.

There are some that are despised by wise men
But that trill little children.

Some are called anthologies
And contain all the best sayings
On everything under the sun.
There are some that try to make one love life;
Others, after writing which
The author has committed suicide.
There are some that sow hatred
And reap what they have sown.
Some, as one reads them, seem to shine,
Charges with ecstasy, delicious with humility.
There are some one loves like brothers
Who have lived more purely and better than we.
There are some written in such strange languages
That even after a deep study of them,
They are impossible to understand.

Some are not worth a penny-piece;
Others extremely valuable.
Some speak of kings and queens,
And others of the very poor.

There are some whose words are sweeter
Than the rustle of the leaves at noon.
It was a book that John ate on Patmos,
Like a rat, (as for me, I prefer raspberries);
It made his belly bitter
And afterwards he had visions.

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