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216th Virtual Poetry Circle

Welcome to the 216th Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Also, sign up for the 2013 Dive Into Poetry Challenge because its simple; you only need to read 1 book of poetry. Check out the stops on the 2013 National Poetry Month Blog Tour and the 2012 National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

Today’s poem is from David Ferry:

In the Reading Room

Alone in the library room, even when others
Are there in the room, alone, except for themselves:
There is the illusion of peace; the air in the room

Is stilled; there are reading lights on the tables,
Looking as if they're reading, looking as if
They're studying the text, and understanding,

Shedding light on what the words are saying;
But under their steady imbecile gaze the page
Is blank, patiently waiting not to be blank.

The page is blank until the mind that reads
Crosses the black river, seeking the Queen
Of the Underworld, Persephone, where she sits

By the side of the one who brought her there from Enna,
Hades the mute, the deaf, king of the dead letter;
She is clothed in the beautiful garment of our thousand

Misunderstandings of the sacred text.

What do you think?

  • I especially love the first stanza about the peace and quiet found in libraries. The poem makes me think about how we understand what we read, and how that may conflict with what was the author’s intention.

  • I always feel safe and quiet and good when visiting your blog. I’m too afraid to guess about this poem. I think it’s about waiting for a muse to come by and help us understand a text or understand what’s happening in our life. I’ve sat in a library blankly staring down at the pages of a book. My mind had drifted. All of a sudden I was thinking of a pressing problem which had nothing to do with the book in front of me at the time. I’d have to shake myself out of the problematic world to get back to the world of my imagination.