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"Words' Worth" Poetry Readings

Poets at the Culture, Arts, and Parks Committee of the Seattle City Council.

The Mad Librarian By Sarah Singer

How tall is light that stretches to the sun
Unwalled and free?
Forgotten now in wherefores and in whys.
This room makes finite all infinity,
Squaring the circle of each day undone,
And shutting out the pageant of the skies.
Lost, forever lost to me
The black-winged flight of clouds across the moon.
Locked in the mind,
The darkness merges with the afternoon,
Today with yesterday, before with soon;
Since walls are blind,
I cannot know how broad horizons are,
Or how the light is filtered from a star,
How time is hung in space and days divide.
My world is eight feet tall and eight feet wide.
I am lovely, I am lovely,
And my hair's the silken wing
Of a blackbird fluttering.
I am Lydia, Lydia Pritchett, I am lovely,
And my name is like a bonnet
Velvet crowned with feathers on it -
I am lovely in my bonnet
And my hair's a blackbird's wing.
But who is that keeps muttering?
Books? What books? There are no books here.
"Yes, sir, B shelf to the right."
(Your arms an engulfing hemisphere
To cradle my delight!)
And you, and you,
And you, and you,
Consult the file
For love's clear cue,
And dream hymeneal dreams the while
Of unlearned lips and shaken hair
Learned in a consummating night.
"Yes, sir, B shelf to the right."
(Within your arms I swoon and quiver,
Then awaken with a shiver.)
There are no books, there are no dreams;
these crushing walls are bare.

The Tea Party by Sarah Singer

(For R. - Age 6)

You spread the checkered cloth upon the grass,
Persuade the dandelion and jewelweed
That live nearby to savor sassafras
Or lemon tea, then scatter crumbs to feed
The birds. For now, this Eden steeped in light,
Your own, unmarred by guile or serpent, place
And time yet rapt on your behalf with flight
Of wing, all bloom, all promise set apace
I watch and listen, am at once aware
Of grace, of privilege, however brief,
That nurture heart and mind, but do not dare
To intercede lest I dispel belief
Or mar pretense with sober truth and claim.
As I look on, you tell the grass your name
Thanks for everything. All the best.

This page was last updated: January 8, 2000
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