Borrowed Book

The borrowed book lies half unread
Lips sealed and words unsaid
Goodbyes hide in sinner’s shrift
Delayed by a stolen gift.

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They closed the library

She opened the library sixty years ago.
He climbed the highest mountain.
Made possible, many followed
footstepping Tibetan-styled streets
to read about those extraordinary feats
or climb again the Himalayan steeps
until they closed the library,
the books impounded,
and ladders littered the mountain,
the summit grounded.

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It’s your turn to do the so-called dishes!

“They are not true,” said my father
upon reading the introduction to my book of children’s bible stories.
Then, with his Staedtler pen, neatly scored through the word with bright blue. true

Granny was furious. “Michael!” she snapped,
but he made her smile in his usual style
“Saint Michael,” he corrected, hands raised, cock-eyed like the Pope.

Granny sighed and remembered her young boy, church leader,
The prodigal son but bound to become a man of the cloth
(until he met my mum), before he had learned for himself

that there was far more fighting inside the Church than anywhere else,
besides he wouldn’t be limited by the old sea-blown merchants of wrath
or their fisher-wives.

He’d always read the books on my required-reading list
long before me. We scoured the second-hand bookshops (no longer searching
for the Famous Five) before ending up in Dillons or Waterstones.

“Education is wasted on the young,” he’d tease,
drooling over Jefferson and Robey or Eagleton’s Literary Theory
and buying an extra copy of M. H. Abrams’ Glossary.

I was half-inclined to agree and happy to see
he’d already underlined (bright blue) all the exciting bits for me.
Mainly, my brother slept at any hour

and queried having to do the so-called dishes. “It’s her turn!”
he yelled, but I was enjoying my new Staedtler pen
and re-underlining the words again.

“Brother, the books are much harder than the dishes.
My books are not, as it were, washed-up dishes,
as you will learn from experience.”

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This is a parody inspired by Heather Phillipson’s poem, Relational Epistemology. Read it here along with Carol Rumens’s commentary.