Linda France


Ever since those evening walks with my father

    in 135 AD

to the library – once-a-fortnight installments –

    engineered, smaller than it looked, a wonder

of the world all the books inside brought news of:

    twelve thousand scrolls tucked in cabinets

along the walls – Junior, Adult, Fiction, Fact,

    their goddesses – Sophia, Episteme, Ennoia, Areté

a light turned in the earth of my mind.


Let’s call them roses, the flowers carved on the ceiling.

    The arrow of a line, the bloom in the blood of a rhyme.

Read closely, the stone leaf grows into a heart.

    That girl became a woman, libraries closed

or were destroyed by fire or earthquake,

    but what the page summoned survives

worm and moth – translations of ‘light’ or ‘goddess’:

    ‘Wisdom’? ‘Insight’? ‘Awareness’? ‘Splendour’? –

the palimpsest of how we live, our then, yes, our now.

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future. Ray Bradbury, science fiction writer