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.