Monday, 10 September 2012

Towards the exit

I find a book on Shakespeare’s life, misplaced
in the Cookery section.  No worries.
Here’s a blue corner chair, a vase
of optimistic daffodils on a windowsill,
and an hour to laze through glossed pages.

A woman with a stick and a wheeze tugs
herself up the ramp to Fiction.  She smiles
to find new romance in ‘Recently Returned’
and leans against a pillar for the first pages
in which Marion flies to Morocco with a sad heart.

A young man, tall, unshaven, taps
his dreams into an online form. He bends
towards the screen as if in prayer
to a fickle deity, scrolling up and
down for errors, for slips, for what’s missing.

A child in denim dungarees, perches
on the chair opposite me.  The mother
browses the shelves while his fat fingers
trace a dragon’s tail across the page
and he points out green and blue to us all.

Two men, both in sturdy boots, shed
mud in ‘Crime’ while swapping views on
Rankin -

- The library will close in five minutes -

Clutching Shakespeare and Marion
in Morocco and dreams and dragons
and a Rebus mystery (and a leaflet on cuts
from a table near the door)
we all sigh towards the exit.

© Fran Hill

Laureate issues library challenge to Culture Secretary

Fran lives in the West Midlands (UK). She teaches English in a local secondary school, writes, performs, blogs, tweets and tries to resist chocolate.


  1. Nicely done Fran. I had a perfect picture in my mind of all these characters. I hope they don't have to sigh much more.

  2. Thanks, Little Nell. I'm glad they came over clearly.

  3. Hello Fran.
    The pace reflects the calm of a lbrary.
    This, for me, is radio voice, I can imagine it being read and being very clear.

  4. Thanks, NL. That's a really nice comment. I actually read it out loud (to myself ...) to see how it sounded. I think the way it sounds is half the battle with a poem.

  5. Have you been lurking in my library? It's all there - right down to the survey about cuts which we started handing out to borrowers this week.

  6. No, haven't been lurking. Call it an educated guess!

  7. Thank you Fran.

    I am trying to take my year 6 class to the library at least once a fortnight for a reading session. How can we close such vital institutions when I have an 11 year old who knows her library number by heart.

    1. I find most 11 year olds know their library card number. (Although to be fair it's because most of them have lost their actual card!)