Leaving My Head Inside a Book
September 2, 2012
An Afternoon in the Stacks
by William Stafford
Closing the book, I find I have left my head
inside. It is dark in here, but the chapters open
their beautiful spaces and give a rustling sound,
words adjusting themselves to their meaning.
Long passages open at successive pages. An echo,
continuous from the title onward, hums
behind me. From in here the world looms,
a jungle redeemed by these linked sentences
carved out when an author traveled and a reader
kept the way open. When this book ends
I will pull it inside-out like a sock
and throw it back in the library. But the rumor
of it will haunt all that follows in my life.
A candleflame in Tibet leans when I move.
This has been a week of books and reading for me. The Seattle Public Libraries have closed for the week for budget reasons, and I spent my week off without pay immersed in book after book. Books are my way to travel on the cheap, to transport myself out of the humdrum of my routine life. An ideal vacation in many ways.
(P.S. One of my favorite novels from my week of reading was Ivan Doig’s The Bartender’s Tale. Doig, who now lives in Seattle, is one of my favorite writers.)