by Anna Blanch on June 7, 2010

A SILENT room gray with a dusty blight
Of loneliness;
A room with not enough of life or light
Its form to dress.
Books enough though ! The groaning sofa bears
A goodly store
Books on the window-seat, and on the chairs,
And on the floor.
Books of all sorts of soul, all sorts of age,
All sorts of face
Black-letter, vellum, and the flimsy page
Of commonplace.
All bindings, from the cloth whose hue distracts
One’s weary nerves,
To yellow parchment, binding rare old tracts
It serves deserves.
Books on the shelves, and in the cupboard books,
Worthless and rare
Books on the mantelpiece where’er one looks
Books everywhere !
Books ! books ! the only things in life I find
Not wholly vain.
Books in my hands books in my heart enshrined
Books in my brain.
My friends are they : for children and for wife
They serve me too ;
For these alone, of all dear things in life,
Have I found true.
They do not flatter, change, deny, deceive
Ah no not they !
The same editions which one night you leave
You find next day.

This is only the first part of this poem, II. AMONG HIS BOOKS, from Nesbit’s Leaves of Life (1888) but it speaks to me today.

Image: Microsoft Images
Anna Blanch is founder of Goannatree, and a PhD candidate in the Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews, Scotland. She’s writing her PhD on E.Nesbit. She loves books.

  • Rebecca

    And to me, too! Is there a collection of Nesbitt's poetry or are her poems scattered throughout her prose?
    My recent post Cultural Icons of a British Sort

  • Rebecca

    Spelling correction: "Nesbit"

    My recent post Cultural Icons of a British Sort

  • goannatree

Previous post:

Next post: