Monday, October 28, 2019

For Friend Stephen, Bibliophile

Below is Sylvia Manning's prose poem for Stephen Hickey as published in the October, 2019 issue of Waterways:  Poetry in the Mainstream (NYC, Ten Penny Press)

For Friend Stephen, Bibliophile                                     
Stephen Hickey, a Wednesday Poet
and all-time, any-time bibliophile

Years ago when asked if he had a plan for what might happen to his collection, thousands of books, 65 years of his collecting them, some printed before wood pulp, books worthy of opening but handsome inside and out, he said it was his worst nightmare, not knowing.

His house has two stories, two apartments, both used mostly by these nonpaying guests – bound to his largesse for their continued existence.  Many were bought for pennies at village church rummage sales or library weed lots -- to make shelf space for mass market shiny covers -- however costly they once had been.

Someone tells him there’s a city that brags of its new library that hasn’t a single book.  He’s not surprised.  He himself has discovered online books even he doesn’t have; he reads from paper less. But if someone mentions a title he thinks they’d like to read (or even just hold), he goes right to it.

They’ve been his family and friends almost all his life, and he accepts now that they may not survive him.  They’ll hopefully become soil after they’re thrown to darkness too deep for any reader, wood pulp and pure rag, paperback and cloth. 

Recently he said he doesn’t have many nightmares anymore.

No comments:

Post a Comment