Saturday 23 November 2019

Finding Myself in My Books,

About Finding Myself In My Books.

The following poem, Finding Myself in My Books , was inspired by the task of organising all of my books as part of the creation of an Archive of all my work
including my notebooks, my novels, and my other published works.

This mammoth task is being spearheaded by the truly Doctor Donna Maynard, a  literary authority on the works of George Elliot, Lewis Carroll and  Charles Kinglsey.  And me now, perhaps.

My contribution to this task has been to survey and organise all the books on all of my shelves. In its turn this exercise has inspired the following short line poem, Finding Myself In My Books. You might be interested to know that this was first drafted while I was waiting in hospital for an eye injection

Finding Myself In My Books will be included in my newest collection of stories, called Kaleidoscope –A View from the FrontierThe short stories in this collection have emerged  from shaking my own life-kaleidoscope and being surprised by the special patterns which have emerged from the virtually random elements locked up in my life-storehouse. This has liberated unique stories to spring out of elements in different times in different places, finally fused  together through the art of fiction - viewed from what  the inimitable Diana Athill called the Frontier of Older Age. 

Here goes 

Finding Myself In My Books.

I am here at the frontier, reorganising
and encouraging my reading self
to revisit all of my books – a lifetime’s
books borrowed, bought and stolen if.
Some, acquired for research, have
driven me to dive into time and power
in order to colonise people, language and places.
Some contain  esoteric matter –
magic, ritual, ghosts, exotic plants
the mysterious powers
of the natural world.
Some explore ways of growing children –
their language and their secret inner selves.

The books remind me of myself, pondering
on society with its inexplicable shifts,
its organic twists and bizarre beliefs, which
out-play solid facts and  iron-clad ideas,
rendering them fluid –identity,
class, perversions, norms –
making imperative the changes
fundamental to our new millennium.

Then there are the stories, written in a lighter fashion
now dusty and dated - yesterday’s dramas.
Alongside these work of great poets and writers
resists the depredations of time;
refreshing me with every reading.

Weighing heavy on the shelves are books laden with
the phenomenally detailed minutiae of war –
gruesome images and experiences laid bare
to enable us to learn anew all about
the horrors perpetuated on our behalf
in the name of nationality at the behest of greed.

And there in the corner stand two cases filled with
my own writing. The books still looking bright and new
despite their long existence. They wait  patiently for me
to open the pages and rediscover some new things
about myself –  things I thought, things I felt, things I thought
I knew and really didn’t know.

The words inside these covers
Differentiate between who I am now
and who I was then.
November 2019


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