A Farewell To Shelves

Mourn those bookshops, second-hand,
Closing down across the  land?
Find the deprivation chronic
Now that life’s all electronic?

Grieve for each one going bust
Coated with the centuries’ dust,
Foxing, wormage, fly-specked wrappers,
Milnes and Mortons, Sakis, Sappers?

Likewise, Jacobs, Belloc, Johns,
Grub Street hacks and port-soaked dons,
Chats On China For Collectors,
Chilling Tales of Spooks And Spectres?

Unread works the world ignores,
Creaking yarns by crashing bores,
Sermons, screeds about Siddhartha,
Cranky views re Magna Carta?

Markers nobody disdains,
Scottish Widows, (Walter Crane’s)
Bookplates, postcards, metal widgets,
A.L.S. of literary midgets?

Sad that binding, gold and green,
Can’t be felt if on a screen
But survival now requires
Browsers yield to on-line buyers.

Jerome Betts

If you have any comments on this poem, Jerome Betts would be pleased to hear from you.