Lindy Barbour

December 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Small Town Library

Out of the back gate and along William Street. Quickly
past the rockers and their motorbikes outside the café.
The storm doors are open and it’s warm inside and ship-shape
the lino glows with polish and though you couldn’t say
she’s welcoming exactly, Jacqueline is at her desk as usual
putting the cards back into the ticket pockets .

One small room lined with books. The children’s section
crammed with Bobbsey Twins and Malory Towers
“The Grey Lady looked down at them with eyes of stone!”
The Aqualung Twins are in Mexico, diving for Aztec gold
and somewhere in the Alps the Chalet School girls switch
with bewildering ease from French to German.

Later, I will begin to teach myself French in the library
and contemplate careers, like student nurse and air hostess
and when I’m ten, for urgent reasons I’ve forgotten
will borrow a book about building wireless sets
and War and Peace, though Jacqueline while impressed
is doubtful. You can take the classics out on a children’s ticket.

The adult section when it came was something of a let-down,
the sordid gateway  to crime and westerns, Mills and Boone.
The grown up books seemed flimsy in their plastic jackets
beside the children’s solid blocks of rexine, spotted
cream on blue, brown and maroon. The doors are closed now
and Jacqueline and I long gone.

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