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The World Book - Poetry Group

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Rock, stone, bark, clay tablet, scroll and vellum,
papyrus, chalk board, paper or digital,
we write the book and weigh hard sentences,
note what we know, have always known and hope
we do not miss ideas between lines.

Ours is an absolute a finite learning,
we do not see as fish see, hear as bats,
know the taste of prey, or molecules’ play,
what races between atoms act their part,
we do not know why this universe is.

And of god, gods or their blind assassins,
we can but guess, though surely get it wrong,
such is the mystery and misery
to know and yet to know not much at all,
opposing thumb, brain not clever enough.

I sometimes stare at stars and plan our course
surely to soar beyond these bounds of earth,
yet wallow in concern for petty humans.
Such tragedy to have stars in our eyes
and feet in clay and on indigenous rocks.

Each word we write, each term and letter’s shape,
the language we speak will be forgotten
and knowledge superseded, succeeded,
by newer thought and fresh revelation;
but still we cannot know why we exist.


For the record, I read this one out loud to myself and I found that it not only has great flow, but the words themselves create delightful sounds. This is beautiful work.


Thank you Erin, it was written because I was one of the people handing out free books as part of World Book Day here in Glasgow.


I've never heard of World Book Day; I'm assuming it's promoting literacy. What kind of books were being passed out?


I selected and was given 48 copies of Seamus Heaney's book of poetry to hand out and a friend was given 48 copies of Carol Ann Duffy's book to do the same. We jointly organised an event in the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art and had readings and then handed out the books. We had people standing in the corridors the event proved so popular.

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