The Growing of Books

I saw a man break the spine of a book,
bending it front to back while he rattled on.
I don't know what he said; I was transfixed.
I had to walk away.

I come from a family of book hunters.
They taught me the care and feeding
of books, whose greatest needs
are the caress of a hand, attention paid,
the smoothing of a page, the release
of spiritu hungering to breathe.

In the forest a book grows greenly,
sturdily seeks the light and air, towers up
through mists, golden breezes, jagged lightning.
Storms rise up, rivers are born, the earth breathes.
Time is lavished — this is important —
much time is spent. The growing of books
cannot be rushed; care must be taken. Patience
is requisite.

I grew up, left home, traveled far,
live in cities, listened to the prophets,
rolled their words around my mouth.
They were sharp, but sweet, and melted
against my teeth. Only the taste remained.

When long years had passed, I found them again,
this time in a book. It is paper, ink, board, thread,
glue. It is the pearl of great price.
I sold all to gain this treasure.

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