Gimbling in the Wabe – Too Many Books
This week, I’m reposting one of my very favorite Gimblings – a little poem I wrote a few years ago that still feels true today. My house is a little less hoard-ish since I wrote this, but it’s still chock full of books.
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Too Many Books
I have books upon the windowsills
and books piled up on chairs.
Books stacked high in corners
and books upon the stairs.
I have books packed tight on bookshelves
and on top of them more books.
Books piled high on nightstands
and almost everywhere you looks.
I’ve read – I swear – most every one
But yes, a few are waiting.
I always think I’ll have more time
yet keep anticipating
those hours with nothing else to do
but hunker down and read
to turn a blind eye everywhere else –
Time I’m grateful for, indeed.
The books downstairs are grown up books,
The ones upstairs were read
When children still snuggled sleepy eyed
To listen in my bed
Of courageous boys and so brave girls:
Potter, Pullman, dragon spawn,
of creatures large and critters small;
hobbits, mouse knights and Avalon.
My kids are now both young adults
I’ve not read to them in years.
The books of theirs piled all around
Have gathered dust for years.
But what would I replace them with?
Trinkets, velvet cases?
No, let me keep my memories
Of sleepy, dreaming faces
And little bodies tucked at each side
to listen in my bed
to all the worlds outside our world
from stories I had read.
Sometimes I do give books away
To charities or friends.
Sometimes I loan one that gets lost;
I never seek amends.
For books have lives beyond the page
I won’t begrudge a few
That wander out beyond my care –
They have adventures, too!
Sometimes it’s urged I sell a few
But I just can’t – you see
It’s not what I could get for them
It’s what they give to me.
So I will let them gather up
In corners, spaces, nooks –
For one can’t have too many friends
Nor have too many books.
~ Sharon Browning