Monday, July 17, 2017

books and such

I couldn't sleep the other night, and somehow got to thinking about what's in my bookcase. I've weeded, but the desire to pare down doesn't stay satisfied.

I got the idea I should be well acquainted with all the books on my shelf, and that they should be useful to me. I turned on a light and grabbed two: Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, and a poetry book, all sonnets.

The Ann Voskamp I have read twice. The question is - do I need to keep it? I probably need to read it again before deciding.  What is she trying to say? And should I keep the book around in order to be reminded of it? Or let it go to the next person?

As for the sonnets, I began reading them right away, in the middle of the night. I started penciling marks near the ones I liked, and finished it off at the dentist's this afternoon. I guess I should keep it, at least for a while. I've just never been one for poetry. But here's one:

 Dipped in detergent, dish and chandelier retrieve
their glister, sopped, kitchen floor reflowers, knife
rubbed with cork unrusts, colors of carpetweave
cuffed with shampooer and vacuum will reblush,
prints sprayed and scrubbed no longer peer but stare,
buffed, silver burns, brushed, plaster will gush
hue at you, tops soothed with cloth will clear.

Cleansing the cloud from windows, I let the world win.
It comes in, and its light and heat heave the house,
discolour, dim, darken my surfaces. Then once again,
as for forty years, my fingers must make them rouse.

Round rooms of surfaces I move, round board, books, bed.
Men carve, dig, break, plunge as I smooth, shine, spread.

Caring for Surfaces,  by Mona Van Duyn


  1. Ah...books!! One of the hardest things for me to downsize. Some on my shelves I have not read...but I know I day! So they stay... xx

  2. that is a powerful poem in the end of it, thank you for sharing it.

    1. You like the comparison between the men's and the women's work, Elizabeth? It is quite a difference, with the men described as being rough, and the author smoothing things over. :)

  3. I would never have thought one could write a poem about cleaning! but it's excellent. Ah - books; yes a point of potential friction in the Britain household; I find it very hard to get rid of books..!

    1. My real issue is not quite with the books, but our house is small, so I am thinking I need to think small and live small. A big house can easily hold lots of books. :)

  4. Really interesting poem. I love books! Having too many is a wonderful problem! ♥

    1. I'll bet your house is bigger than ours, Susan! And also since you're homeschooling, you need lots of them. I don't have that situation.

  5. I apologise for commenting so late (we are away from home) but I had to say how much I love that poem! It might make me think differently about the chore of cleaning! I do have difficulty in getting rid of books - we ran out of space on our shelves some time ago.