of characters I have known.
I have seen the worst of humankind unfold before my eyes,
leaving my heart cracked open and my soul broken.
I have been restored from deep despair, where I cannot remain,
by observing tender and loving acts between two, or entire nations.
Unconditional love being the grandest of all and the most difficult to explain.
I have held these contrasting extremes,
and everything in between, in the center of my hands.
In a silver-dollar-sized space, protected by a grip,
I have cradled the past and the future, knowing both will be short-lived.
I have watched, in my mind’s eye, entire worlds rise and descend.
A few, reduced to grey ashes, did rise again.
My eyes, portals to other worlds,
have followed every action and absorbed every word,
engaged and engrossed with each page turned.
Engaging dialogue, scenes, and descriptions
become memories, offering connections and lessons,
long after I have reached, the end.
No limits to where I might go, to where I have been –
I have felt floating fabric brush my skin
while embracing a sensual dream.
I have been trapped in a locked mansion
while racing to escape a nightmare.
In these scenarios, and countless more,
I have stepped into landscapes barely noticeable,
and explored others, surreal.
I have been introduced to characters mostly believable,
and been fascinated by others, unreal.
All that I describe, all that I mention,
are not places I have actually been,
but stories created by minds, made visible by pens –
some relived, others the products of imaginations.
Living in a world that keeps spinning,
I have spent a lifetime living in worlds by reading and turning.
Books have taken me to places I have only dreamed.
From printed details and conversations, I have learned.
For all that books have given me,
even the long ones, like War and Peace,
fall short compared to some aspects of our tangible reality.
Between their covers, I have fallen asleep,
but not once have I heard them breathe.
Books have made me laugh and they have made me cry,
but never once has a book gazed into my eyes,
or held me tight while slow dancing under a moonlit sky.
The first draft of this poem began with a list of over twenty-five book titles and details about the characters (and real people) who made those books memorable. Although titles and names did not make it into my final draft, a few indirect book references did and I enjoyed reconnecting with loved characters (and a few not-so-loved but unforgettable). That list did become the launching pad for thoughts about all that books have given me, through the years, and a few life moments that books will never be able to give. Despite their limited limitations, I will continue reading and enjoying well-written books between the covers. 😉 📚 💓 Thank you for visiting and reading. Be well. 💗 Michele
Photo 1: by Jonathan Borba (Pexels) Photo 2: Prescott Public Library, taken by JBG
© 2021 Michele Lee Sefton.