Tuesday, January 31, 2006

An Antique Book
by Emily Dickinson

A precious mouldering pleasure 'tis
To meet an antique book
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,
His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.
His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old:
What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty
And Sophocles a man,
When Sappho was a living girl,
And Beatrice wore
The gown that Dante deified.
Facts, centuries before,
He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town
And tell you all your dreams were true:
He lived where dreams were sown,
His presence is enchantment,
You beg him not to go;
His volumes shake their vellum heads
And tantalize, just so.