Freedom

In the arc of a late afternoon sunbeam

golden films of swirling dust alight

on slanted books – shelved for years –

patiently bursting with stories and wisdom,

the poor man’s fix

in an insatiable, self-obsessed world

unbound and reinvented daily

too often through greed,

too soon through conflict –

not so, these books

their brown glued spines

and whiff of summer days

slumped by an open window,

the majesty of their fond attachment

to a past where crumbled paper-bags

hoarded liquorice string and rhubarb sours –

they accompanied us in long grass fields

under empty skies and fluffy clouds

during the thrill of birthday cakes and candles,

they were there for our innocent surrender

to playtime and make-believe

the tenderness of thought and action

of boys and girls –

before uniforms and chalk-dusted elbows

become beguiling teenage tendencies

which lead us not into temptation

but towards choice and decision-making

and the sharing of one’s own literature

our stories – our wisdom –

our time to walk freely and to be.