A book, he said, should be a ball of light in the hand*.

by Judith Arcana

*Ezra Pound

That was long ago and far away. Now
here, we’re in a place and time even he
(skewed though his mind was) did not
imagine. Now, here, shiny tiny screens
all kindling and nooking their hearts out
don’t prove, the cynic says, anyone is
actually reading. We cannot be certain
(despite so many hands full of light)
that here, now, people are taking words –
full pages of sentences – into their minds.

Perhaps not. Certainty, however, being
rare in any case, I offer this evidence:
On a train, last week, I saw two men
holding books of paper. They were not
companions. They sat across from me.
Each was classically rapt in his reading.
One had run a ribbon of skyblue lace through
his pages. The other’s volume splayed
open; he held it up with both hands, close
to his face – as if he would kiss it.

Judith Arcana writes poems, stories, essays and books – and hosts a poetry show on KBOO in Oregon and online. Her newest book, from Flowstone Press, is Announcements from the Planetariumpoems examining memory, considering the nature of wisdom, and reflecting on the experience of aging into new consciousness.  Judith’s collection of poems about immigration – 4th Period English – is coming back into print from Eberhardt Press this year; visit juditharcana.com.

Copyright 2018, Judith Arcana

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