Finding the Right Book
Lying on a park bench I found it. The book was lying there, not me. It was a random book, randomly placed. I’d heard this idea before. Leave a book you had in a public place, hoping someone would pick it up. How far would it travel? You would never know.
Mind you, once you let a book go you have no control over it. It’s the old stone in the pond idea, watching the ripples spread. Random books randomly placed have mysterious power.
You don’t know what happens next.
I sat down beside the book and opened it. Inside was a list in various handwritings, of where the book had been.
Who started the journey in Lewisham, London? I’ll never know. The book travelled then from Lewisham, London, to Green Alley, Athy, to “beside the Claddagh, Galway.” Across the Atlantic to Battery Park, NY. Then there were places I didn’t recognize all over the States. Somehow it ended up back in Ireland beside me, park bench, Kilkenny Castle.
If you’re thinking of playing this game mind your bookmarks. Friends of mine once left embarrassing photos in a book, followed by a frantic search of library shelves! Like the stone in the pond you don’t know where the ripples will go.
In my found book there was a scrap of paper with an e-mail address. I have both in my hand boarding the outbound plane. Thank you Miss Austen for “Persuasion.”
There are swans on the Corrib,
Along Quay Street the pubs are
Filled to overflowing.
They play Edith Piaf in cafes
While patrons patiently wait.
Outside, buskers ply their trade.
Behind the old Spanish Arch
We find the new Museum.
There, Johnny Faulkner and friends
Transport us with old sea-songs
Beyond the river’s open mouth
To Greenland whale fisheries.
Voices tell the shanties rhythms.
Eyes closed, to listen close,
I follow the music’s rise and fall.
Singers’ voices in harmony
Take us until we return
To the museum’s sunlit room.
Outside, the swans glide by, mute.
This was published as part of Kilkenny Library Poets on Board Scheme