This is the third place for these books
I have known in this town,
where all are welcome, all are invited in
to explore, to savor
what the world can offer —
All I have to do is come here
Quiet on their shelves, letting me discover
the worlds they offer all
who come here;
in the quiet
the embrace of what others have said
about the world, and about life.
Welcome, they murmur, and be curious —
we are always here, until you take us home
and get to really know us,
while you sip your tea, in a comfy chair,
going wherever we can take you.
Everyone comes here, everyone is welcome
to look around, to flip through pages, or maybe
something electronic, or something in pictures,
or music, or to just look at some art,
whatever I want, whatever I desire,
curiosity is the rule here, always curious.
My first grade class walked to the books one spring day
we, all hand in hand, came to look, to hear a story
as we sat on the carpet, going on a trip
by the sound of a voice, and pictures shown all around.
We left that day, each with a book, and each with a card,
the key to come back, again and again, and find another.
And, so, I did, time and again, and again, and again,
finding new treasures, and new things to learn,
and books and knowledge to help me write a paper for school,
and to find out more about what I wanted to know;
to go out in the world and find myself–
me, always hungry now for more, still more.
The books moved across the street, and stayed a long while,
until my hair started to turn gray, and then they moved again,
to still a better place, another block away,
a new place, built just for books and for this town
so more could come, and more could be welcomed here.
This third place is the best yet, a place even for kids
all their own, animals and trees and flowers, and
bright colors everywhere, inviting them in again, and
I’m still a kid here, always wanting to skip up to the door
and wander in, seeing what is new, and what I might like
to take home and read by the fire, a cat on my lap,
a cup of tea, and the world mine to explore.
A big room now filled with people reading, thinking, writing a bit,
and reading some more, even people meeting in small rooms,
to talk, to focus on learning, and being in community
with each other, being stronger to be in the world.
Again, in this curious place,
another library day,
a spring in my step,
again for the first time.
Neal Lemery 3/23/2013.