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Ode To My Books June 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Poetry, Writing & Writers.

Books are a delightful society. If you go into a room filled with books, even without taking them down from their shelves, they seem to speak to you, to welcome you. ~ Wm E Gladstone

Like Gladstone, our guest blogger, Paula Tohline Calhoun, loves books . . .  reading them, stacking them, tasting them, and savoring each morsel of wisdom within.

Ode To My Books                    By Paula Tohline Calhoun, Guest Blogger

150px-Carlo_Crivelli_052Books in bookshelves, firmly packed
Books on counters, neatly stacked.
Books by every couch and chair
Books on floors and on the stair.
Books for pleasure, books for learning
(Not one single book for burning).
Books for reading, books for show
Books that shine with afterglow
Of days spent telling stories culled
From those same pages read of old.
Books we’d love to give away,
And books to savor, meant to stay
With those who know the joyous taste
Of books embossed and leather-cased
Devoured as the hours pass
While sitting in some boring class.
(Those who say that class was wasted,
Don’t know just how good that book tasted!).
Books by authors known to few
Books so old that now they’re “new.”
Books that nourish starving minds,
Books for everyone, all kinds.
Books that still reside in me,
Fresh, as they will always be.
Should all the world and all within it
Fall away this very minute –
Were there no humans left to love,
Just my books, and God above –
Then list my life replete, well fed!
With all my books, I’ll be well-read.

Ode to My Books
(By Paula Tohline Calhoun ©1997)

For more on Paula, and her writing, check out  her blog, Reflections From A Cloudy Mirror.

Her most recent post there, Exactly What Did The Walrus Say, Anyway, and Why?, is a tantalizing romp through shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings.

In addition to writing, Paula enjoys making music and seeks “to become the Gospel, even as I live my own.”

Related posts:  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland * A Writer’s Life For Me *  Eavesdropping on the Rooftop Literati * The Power Of Awesome * Austen & Dickens Had It Easy *  It’s In The Mail * Eat, Pray, Love . . . Tie the Knot???


1. Richard W Scott - June 8, 2010

Book ’em, Dano

nrhatch - June 8, 2010

Now I’ve got the Hawaii-Five-O theme circulating . . .

2. Joanne - June 8, 2010

Perfect ode… Can you write one for online books…?
Alas, it’s just not the same as the smell of new pages and leather bindings 😉

nrhatch - June 8, 2010

I agree.

I love reading thoughts and ideas, both on-line and in print. But when I want to curl up with a book, I want a book. Not an e-book. Not an ipad. Not a Kimble.

A book with spines that bind.

Paula - June 8, 2010

Joanne: I’ll get right on it! While I have always preferred to hold books – pages, covers, spines, and all – in my hands, (increasing difficulty with my hands make it problematical for me trying to hold them or turn their pages), I have found that e-books and audio books have their own appeal, and I can get lost in them just as easily. The only problem is I miss the scent of freshly printed paper, or even of moldy, worm-eaten pages! Maybe someone will come out with some incense called, “Old Library,” or “Printer’s Ink,” or even “Moldy Leather,” or “Dusty Shelves.” Hey: We could even do better than that: how about “Old Librarian?” That particular one would have a soundtrack playing alongside it as it burned. Take a whiff of old-book scent, and then listen to the sounds of sensible shoes on tattered carpet or linoleum, followed by the squeak of the old wheeled stool being sat upon by a rose-water scented lady, who pauses briefly, after sitting down, to blow her nose quietly into a sacheted handkerchief and then recommences stamping dates into returned books: clink-clomp-thud; clink-clomp-thud. . . (How’s that for a run-on sentence?) Check in tomorrow for that ode to librarium electronica. . .

nrhatch - June 8, 2010

Paula ~ You crack me up!

Can’t wait for your next ode to old librarium. : )

Thanks again for guest blogging!

Paula - June 9, 2010

As promised, here it is (such as it is…)

Ode to My (e)-Books
– Paula Tohline Calhoun ©2010

Here’s to my books on a glowing screen, and also the ones on CD
Still as good as they’ve ever been, and both can be used simultaneously!
On PC,CD-ROM, boom-box, Sony or Kindle,
The total amount of money you spend will
Depend on the types of gadgets you use
And the places you’ll be or the moments you’ll choose
To read or to listen: on the couch, in the car,
On the beach, as you jog – wherever you are!
For the great thing about these bits of technology
Is the writing’s still there! And with no apology
I’ll point out to those who are reading this now, your
Cyber-medium has brought you that power!
So here’s to our books! Whatever the media –
Be it poetry, fiction or encyclopedia,
The pleasures derived from reading will be
Forever available as long as we
Can dismiss the biases we have for dust-jackets
And learn to peruse an internet stack. It’s
nice to imagine that some day down the road
We’ll not be bent low by the large heavy load
Of books we’ve bought and need to build shelves for –
Now that is a dream worth stretching ourselves for!
(Just one problem I feel needs addressing:
What will we do when our flowers need pressing?)

3. Paula - June 8, 2010

BTW: I am honored to be featured here among your august company! Thanks for asking, and I was delighted to oblige! 😀

nrhatch - June 8, 2010

Let’s do it again, sometime. : )

nrhatch - June 9, 2010

Later today, con su permiso (with your permission), I plan to lift your Ode to E-books from the Comments section to a post of its own. : )


4. Joanne - June 8, 2010

Perfect, Paula… Thanks for the laugh, too 😀

5. Joanne - June 9, 2010

Ladies, if I weren’t so wrapped up in my other creative projects, I’d be spending some of my energy thinking of Ode To Your Odes.

This reminded me of a journal entry I did over ten years ago — back in the day when I still had no computer… I went through so much ink back then; but it wasn’t until after completely draining at least four pens, that I wrote Ode To My Pen… Technology sure has changed that… I’d have to join Paula in writing Ode To My Keyboard 😀

Paula - June 9, 2010

Probably shouldn’t have said that, Joanne…my mind is already humming. Most of you are wishing my mind would just shut up by now I realize, but stay tuned! BTW – bet you both could do the same thing…that’s it! The “Dueling Odes Blog!”

And – you are welcome to this one too, nrhatch!

nrhatch - June 9, 2010

OK. Up it goes!

Thanks, Paula . . . keep that mind humming away!

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