“I fell out with somebody once who burnt their books.
It was a new couple, getting married, and they said to me,
oh, we burnt all his books.
I don’t want to be friends with people who burn books.” (Josie Hall)
We were a new couple just starting out,
it was none of my idea for a nice home. I saw
Unmixt with foreign filth, and undefil’d
pale walls, made-to-measure pencil-pleat curtains
at every sparkling window; all cream carpets
Beseeming well the bower of anie Queene.
Where could these go, so many of them
Guilty of dust and sin
and spiders spinning behind them, I said
who’s going to be pulling them forward four at a time
to do the shelves twice a week? Not me.
He wasn’t best pleased. But I reasoned with him
Till, dying, all he can resign is breath
I said well you’ve read them, haven’t you?
Any you’ve read, you know what’s in them.
‘Tis madness to resist or blame
Any you haven’t, you obviously weren’t interested,
or you would have got round to it sooner.
Longings wild and vain
For the rich help of books
Neither use nor ornament, and besides,
where will they go? Come on, we’ll do it together.
I’m the type of person, once my mind’s made up,
I want to get on with it
And bonefiers make all day
Good thing it was a dry October
So red, so ripe the roses burned
and he still had the allotment back then,
it took two trips in his car and all afternoon
I warm’d both hands before the fire of life
to get rid of them. It was sort of interesting
watching them catch at the edges and then go up.
Peace, good reader, do not weep
I made us a cup of tea in the shed
and we shared a packet of custard creams.
Eleanor Brown 2015