Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Reveries of libraries, the ninth : FORMAL FORESTS

 Philip Harvey

Foliage is stripped from the trees, scribbly descends to the earth from an axe, chips of timber not readable to the creatures, birds or small mammals, anymore.

Any more? Where are the words to explain sustainable?

All of this unprinted matter is sent down rivers and old roads to relentless paper mills of old time.

Mould time pushes out belief patterns of leaf from beneath rhizome fossils.

Pulped and cleaned and pressed and dried, the paper squares up to meet the millions of words that we have to say.

Countless words, too busy the writers counting the cost in millions.

Those words are covered in glory, even as they disappear from view into bookshops and handbags and libraries.

There where it takes only a little light in corners to read ramifications and exfoliations.

There to rest anew a time upon smoothed ledges of best wood.

Air conditioners help concentrate the mind.

Life in a library is foliage time, fine thin leaf time, sunlight time inside.

Committees of benefactors and bewarers fit out the papery portals.

Until something, a fire or flood, bursts through its foundations.

A leaf-winged insect or saw-jawed bug pries the uncut edges of time.

Or someone, a bureaucrat or blind man, signs the document that sends the printed matter off the smoothed ledges.

Even ledges make rafts on the deep swell, even committees.

They could not see the forest for the trees and now the forest library is stripped, axed, and descends back to the earth.

Pulp recycling earth, cyclic re-earthing palpables.

Forever now, unread by those for whom it was intended.

To whom it may concern, for whom the toll bells.

Books tear and weather, books bulge with water, singe with flame.

Take a leaf out of his book and turn it into confetti.

Higgledy-piggledy they topple into landfill, the object of insect desire.

The complete bibliography of great trees of the known grown world yellows in rays.

Their slow disintegration before the elements makes for that symmetry which so much of their pointed printed contents warned readers of, about, often.

The groan world mellows with days, seedpods lift on the stream.

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