In preparation for the big Read-Ins taking part in libraries threatened with closure up and down the country this Saturday I thought I’d republish this wonderful poem by Gwen Grant:
MY LIBRARY HOME
When they tell me to ‘Attach Birth Certificate here’,
I ask them which one they mean.
The first one that simply affirms I have been born
Or the real one, where under ‘Place of Birth’
I have written ‘Library,’
For it was amongst these book-lined shelves
I was born to an awareness and understanding
Of what men and women, boys and girls get up to,
Plus all those other things we’re told that flesh is heir to.
I took down those books, held them, read them
And loved them so much, I hugged them.
I read about everything,
Love and hate, life and death, war and peace,
Joy and sorrow, crime and punishment.
I read about mountains, valleys, deserts, cities and jungles
And how man was just a pinprick of light
In a vast darkness,
Or, maybe, a pinprick of darkness
In an ocean of light.
I learnt about creatures that walk, crawl, creep, swim and fly
And how a sudden, surprising, spark of affection
Can be a connection between them and us,
Us and them.
Which was why, under ‘Nationality’ where it said,
‘Tick any one of the countries that follow from A to Zed,’
I ticked them all instead,
For I am every colour and race, creed, dogma and faith.
Is that hard?
Not when you’ve got a Library card.
So that’s my real home, for me and generations before me,
Together we speak for those yet to come.
Unless you’re going to succour them, love them, encourage them,
build them and fill them, or shine ‘em up,
Please, leave our Libraries alone.
copyright ©2009 GWEN GRANT