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My Library -- Lucy Maud Montgomery

Guest poem sent in by Jeffrey Sean Huo
(Poem #1422) My Library
 It is small and dim and shabby -- just one old, low-corniced room,
 With the plaster stained and broken and the corners lost in gloom:
 And one square, uncurtained window, where a sea-born sunset shines
 In a glow of chastened splendor though grand cathedral pines.
 But 'tis dear and sacred to me, plain and dusky tho' it be,
 For the best of friends and comrades hither come to meet with me.
 And I welcome them right gladly when the lingering daylight falls
 On the old, familiar faces of my books along the walls.

 Matchless tales of lands far distant; ballads of an olden day,
 Full of fire and faith and fervor that no time can steal away:
 Songs of many gracious poets: rare old essays richly blent
 With the legendary lore of orient and occident:
 Tales of wonderful adventures in the merry years of yore,
 And of half-forgotten battles lost and won by sea and shore;
 Classic myth and stately epic, born of earth-old joy or pain --
 All the centuries have left us, I may gather here again.

 Here with hosts of friends I revel who can never change or chill;
 Though the fleeting years and seasons they are fair and faithful still!
 Kings and courtiers, knights and jesters, belles and beaux of far away,
 Meet and mingle with the beauties and the heroes of to-day.
 All the lore of ancient sages, all the light of souls divine,
 All the music, wit and wisdom of the gray old world is mine,
 Garnered here where fall the shadows of the mystic pineland's gloom!
 And I sway an airy kingdom from my little book-lined room.
-- Lucy Maud Montgomery
Lucy Maud Montgomery is most famous for the book 'Anne of Green Gables' and
subsequent novels; but in her lifetime she also wrote hundreds of poems, of
which "My Library" is one.  I think, in three heartfelt verses, Montgomery
captures wonderfully the affection and passion that all who call ourselves
lovers of books and stories know.


[Martin adds]

I am reminded, too, of Guest's "Story Time" [Poem #733], with its similar
"there is no frigate like a book"[1] theme. What sparkles through in both
poems is the appeal not just to the imagery but to the language of the old,
familiar tales - the "legendary lore of occident and orient", the "shadows
of the mystic pineland's gloom" would appear affected elsewhere, but are not
only accepted but positively demanded in the books to which the speaker
refers. The license to use them here comes not just from the poem, but from
its subject matter.

[1] and I note we've not run that one yet!

32 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

SHough7428 said...

What a wonderful poem of Montgomery's, and an appropriate one. I know that I
am not alone as one of the many women who, as girls, fell in love with
literature through the work of L. M. Montgomery. Her love of literature,
storytelling and mythology, in her novels as in her poems, is contagious and compelling.
So many of the most thoughtful, imaginative women I know were once girls who
read "Rilla of Ingleside" in the bathtub.


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