Friday, 10 July 2020

Reveries of libraries, the thirty-seventh: Library Lockdown

Library Lockdown: Two Sonnets

Philip Harvey


Thump of returns chute, earphones unmute
Clatter of trolley, splatter of brollies
Beep beep of beep wand, wrong drop-off unfond
Backspace of laptop, novels slip slop slap slop
Much less sloppier photocopier
Soft keyboard touch, neat handwriting clutch
Coughs stifled resigned, crack of antique spine
Swish of page turning, page swish returning
Stack’s muffled laughter, thoughts ever after
Mumble at ‘reserved’, grumble of self-serve
Ring of connecting, ping an incoming thing
CDs in CDs, press stud DVDs
Clickclack of loans gate, phone calls with books late
Hard to believe, sounds missed in libraries


Hard to mist sights of library lockdown
Tip-tap that rain makes, phone calls with no takes
Desktops and opacs, square blanks and all blacks
Titles inspecting across their aisles same thing
Uncalled-for reserves that are there but to serve
Stack’s ghostly laughter, no thoughts hereafter
Spurned pages unturning, pages’ wish unlearning
No covid coughs here, no customers appear
For them no happy hush, no last-minute essay rush
No Encyclopaedia Britannica
No hideout with laptop, no time to talk and stop
Deep deep the deep quiet, a silverfish diet
Mollified trolleys, no bowl of soft lollies
Slump of returns chute, all tute rooms quite mute

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