This poem has been inspired by Benjamin Wild and he asked me to reflect on how ‘inanimate objects (maybe something specific to you?) become imbued with meaning and enable people to express feelings and ideas that their words and actions often cannot.’ This the first proper poem where the subject/theme has not been decided by me but another and I hope to have conveyed the image as closely to what Benjamin had in mind. The poem was also inspired by a book of common prayer given to me by my Grandmother. Enjoy
This little book.
The spine is worn away at the top.
The words imprinted in gold are fading and
Only if one holds it to the light of the sky does it glow like
A candle in a rundown house, slowly but courageously
Holding out against time. Cracks in the binding show the
Effect of war on even the humblest of minds
Yet It does not stop telling, It does not stop us
The pages are going brown.
The hands that have perused and turned through
The delicate prayers and sermons are now delicate themselves.
Soft and forgiving hands that have held It lovingly for
Year after year trying to fully understand the proleptic messages
It tells us.
Some of the pages are quite loose.
The pages that once clung so tightly
Are now dejected, tears marring the beauty of its Innocence.
I must be delicate when I touch It so as to not disturb its silent
Mouthings. This is more than a book. It is a reflection of a life,
Ongoing and oncoming. Of tears and laughter all encapsulated
This inanimate object has passed from one to another
With pride, there is a link that connects generations and worlds.
This object carries within it an age of respect and gratitude
And a hope that It will continue and not be left at the back of
Shelves to rot, uncared for and unloved.
It has lived longer than I yet It cannot share its knowledge.
It has connected people all over the world
who gasp at the wonder and splendour of this little book.
Just as one might buy a leather satchel to keep and hand down
To another, so I have this little book to continue the legacy and pride
Of those before me. This little book will always be a (living) reminder of
The kind and the gentle and the warm-spirited.
It has become permeated with the musky smell of an erstwhile library
And the spine keeps wearing away, waiting for another to clasp its fading