“Shifting Illustrations” The Sunday Whirl #72

Last stop before an exit you’ll
see a sign for a book fair; I stop
there occasionally to refresh
myself with paragraphs I can’t comprehend

Novel covers are smooth, others embossed
with shifting illustrations, but the contents
are nuance-bare for me, a barrier between

Gassed girls and boys work fingers through
numbered pages, their student’s gear hugging
young backs — smiles that let me know
they’ve reached their final quest

As I pick up a book, caressing its cover, seeking
evidence sequined in black and white flash,
empowered in presence, the touch of a lover,
I breathe in this fair so amphoric entranced,
and linger there silent, composed in this moment
of linen-laid solitude soft in my hand


29 responses to ““Shifting Illustrations” The Sunday Whirl #72

  1. nice…i like going to the book fair…i think the one at our school is in september…i love books though…mmm…their smell , texture…its why i cant do digital books yet…

    • Brian, there are book fairs year round here, due to the weather being mild, and the fact that this is a university city. Sadly, the book fairs are filled with books written in Spanish. I cannot read a novel in Spanish to save my life, it is too daunting a task, but I recognize titles and they do feel lovely when holding them.

  2. beautiful. That last stanza is brilliant.

  3. Yes, beautiful. The last stanza is stunning. I can never get enough of books. Had to leave so many behind when I moved across the pond. Couldn’t afford to pay for the weight of them …lol but, am building up a nice collection again. I was soooo thrilled yesterday, bought 4 books from Amazon for $26. The used books sell for 1 cent, but, you have to pay the shipping of 6 bucks. Not bad for nearly new books.
    Loved this Pamela. Nothing better than being surrounded by books. 🙂

  4. Wow, ‘linen-laden solitude soft in my hand’ is such a beautiful way of describing a book. This poem is really one of my favorites of yours!

  5. “Linen-laid solitude soft in my hand” is gorgeous, Pamela! Also loved: “refresh myself with paragraphs I can’t comprehend.” I am a lover and collector of books. Right now, I am in dire need of more shelves.

    • Marianne, trying to read in a novel in Spanish is so frustrating. I lose all of the nuances in between the lines. It is not like reading a technical manual, which is fairly straight forward writing.

  6. Books as a lover… I can relate. This is wonderful, Pamela.


  7. I like this so much, to be at the fair again!

    • Yes, Annell, there is the scent of the books that is so inviting, but I don’t purchase them in Spanish anymore. I have a few and I cannot get through them. It is a production to read one, dictionary, verb conjugation manual, so by the time I read one page. I am left without much understanding of what I’ve read.

  8. I haven’t been to a book fair for a long time and this poem made me want to be there. There’s nothing quite like all those piles of books and smiling authors.

  9. No, Peggy, there is nothing like it.

  10. As with so many others “linen laid solitude” is the phrase that most sticks in my mind but I also like how you foreshadow you inability to read what you’re holding when you say earlier on that the “contents are nuance-bare for me” – such a delicate, telling phrase … good poem Pamela


  11. Sharon, I have tried on several occasions over the years to read a novel in Spanish. My brain simply cannot grasp the small inflictions in the writing. I am hardly what I consider bilingual, I get by in conversation with people, reading the language is an entirely different sphere. Thanks.

  12. This is a great wordle poem. I quite forgot to look for the wordle words!

    I puzzled over “amphoric ” like an amphora, a large pot? or did you mean euphoric?

  13. You brought me back to my days of managing a bookstore, Pamela. I never got tired of the smells and feels of books old and new. You gave me that feeling of being there again, thank you,


  14. I love finding a good read ….. books are like friends who never let you down…..once I finish one, I need to fill that emptiness right away…..love the line “linen-laid solitude”…..

  15. A hearty description of the book fairs I was apt to take my daughters to (they devour books). Agree, “linen-laid solitude” is an eye catching line.

  16. Pamela- I was thoroughly immersed and felt surrounded by people and books. As always you have a way with words.

  17. What’s not to love about books? My little house is overrun and I love each and every one of them. Excellent poem, as always!

  18. Fabulous, Pamela. I love `linen-laid solitude’

  19. Have you ever visited http://www.bookcrossing.com? Fun place for book lovers.
    While I used to seek out book fairs, I now just go to the cafe bookstore in my local library and yard sales. Now I just have to make time to read my ‘catches’.

    I went with humor:

  20. I went to the book fair two days ago and had fun. Your poem resonates with me…

    tipsy fingers play footsie

I appreciate all comments.

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