There is a haven, a few scant miles from my abode. A time machine of text. Crammed rafter-high with both relics and rookies in paper and hardback form. ‘The Book Barn’. Sign emblazoned with the tagline ‘Over 1 Million Books.’ Quite a claim. One that is true. The place is vast. VAST. A warehouse of shelves to peruse, and that is only what’s visible. There is a whole cordoned-off area. Staff slip past sliding doors and don hardhats when navigating towering shelves, pushing wheeled carts like bookish miners, all along corridors of storage. Over half of the area of roof space is a storage room of sleeping leaves. Browsing space in hibernation. Chock full of volumes screaming out to be read. Thumbed. Scribbled over. Walking in, the place suffuses promise. It is a musty beckoning to words unexplored. Untasted.
I went there today in supplication, searching for some inspiration to write. I found it in the turn of a page. I pulled out a battered Dylan Thomas Anthology, then floated away. Sound is muffled at the book barn. Walls within walls of shelves deaden sound, and the very footsteps of visitors are hushed. In an instant, I felt swayed by Thomas’s verse. No longer was I seeking. His writing is so powerfully rhythmic, that as I took it to the cashier tried to describe it through his style. Thus:
In swaying, swirling perusal I meandered past the tall and dust-covered tops of pages read and unread. My restless mind swooped past satchel-shoved pre-war volumes and long abandoned Comprehensive dropouts to emerge refreshed from the coral reef of knowledge, so beautiful in its promise. All brown and curling were the wild books, crammed like Seagulls on a rocky shelf above the broiling, boiling Sea.
I felt refreshed and energised. I love the Book Barn.
© Tom Tide 2016