St. Francis at the Huntington Library and Gardens, circa 1990s

St. Francis Statue, photo by Pauline Harris 1990s

St. Francis Statue at Huntington Library and Gardens, photo by Pauline Harris 1990s

looking for a book home

There is a place
I once used to go to with my parents,
well, my mother mostly…
it was a big room full of books.

So many books could be found here.
They held such wonders…
sometimes to scare…
sometimes to delight,
but always to take us somewhere
or to enrich our minds
with ideas long since gone,
but not forgotten.

For in these books though
not mine to have or write in.
They were for everyone to use, to read, to enjoy.
Here I learned how to take care of books.
To repair them. To find out where the new
ones belonged. and some-days I even got to read some of them.

Reading had challenges. Pages appeared with words seeming like rivers
or even word-traffic jams in the pages I was so gallantly trying to read.
Even reading the words was hard at times, because I had to
know what the word meant to understand the passage.

One day in high school, we were reading Shakespeare outloud in class.
There I was, knowing my time was soon. I began to breathe heavy
as my name was called. Words came out of my mouth of what
was written on the page…until
that one word…what is that word
be-a-u-ti-ful…no that is not the word
what is that word…how do you say it
what does it mean
the teacher yells out beautiful
and then lets the next person read.

There is a world out there for us to understand.
Books bring to life
so much more than just the mind.

If books do somehow not have a home to
call their own, where does this leave writers
and readers alike.

Maybe as one writer has put it…the books will
be downloaded into our brains automatically.

Libraries and bookstores need us to carry on
Carry on reading books…enjoy your next adventure
inside a book.
By Pauline Harris

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