William Stafford, In the Library

In the Library

You are reading a book, and think you know
the end, but others can’t wait—they crowd
on the shelves, breathing. You stop and look around.
It is the best time: evening is coming,
a bronze haze has captured the sun,
lights down the street come on.

You turn a page carefully. Over your shoulder
another day has watched what you do
and written it down in that book
you can’t read till all the pages are done.

~William Stafford, Even in Quiet Places

Image: The Heart Book – 1550. The Heart Book is regarded as the oldest Danish ballad manuscript. It is a collection of 83 love ballads compiled in the beginning of the 1550s in the circle of the Court of King Christian III. Shown here is the beginning of ballad no. 43, Store laengsel, du gor mig naer (Great Yearning, thou touches me).

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