Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Poem of the Gifts

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Poem of the Gifts

Article excerpt

Let no one impute to self-pity or censure The power of the thing I affirm: that God With magnificent irony has dealt me the gift Of these books and the dark, with one stroke.

He has lifted these eyes, now made lightless, To be lords of this city of books, though all that they read In my dream of a library are insensible paragraphs Disclosed to their longing

Each passing day. Vainly dawn multiplies book After book to infinity, each one Inaccessible, each lost to me now, like the manuscripts Alexandria fed to the flame.

Greek anecdote tells of a king who lived among Gardens and fountains, and died of thirst and starvation; I toil in the breadth and the depth and the blindness Of libraries, without strength or direction.

Encyclopedias, atlases, Orient, Occident, dynasties, ages, Symbols and cosmos, cosmogonies Call to me from the walls - ineffectual images!

Painfully probing the dark, I grope toward The void of the twilight with the point of my faltering Cane - I for whom Paradise was always a metaphor, An image of libraries. …

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