CONTAGION [The Book Shop]
Words are contagious; they can spread among
Any human beiing; like chinese whispers
Changing their meaning, crossing borders
On the merest wind.
After I caught the disease, I woke with a
Sense of unease, anxious to write down
Whatever it was I was suffering from.
I asked my doctor what it all meant.
He used words they had to invent;
That defied description.
But If I were particularly interested,
I could be initiated into a world of words
Used only on prescription.
Two weeks later with a head full of ideas and three poems,
I was over the worst of it, though not fully recovered,
The complaint recurring when least expected,
Despite keeping a safe distance from others and
Wearing a face mask, the unintended consequence of which
Made it impossible to form words in public.
I became fearful of adding to what quickly became a pandemic,
As virtual writers-groups; poetry blogs and online competitions
Spread like wildfire. Towns became no-go areas for anyone afraid
Of what they might read. Empty streets a testament to
Viral contamination. Isolation was the new creed.
As the disease eventually began to ease, words became
Less of a threat due to a uniformity of ideas, so
I went in search of alternatives and came across
A non-descript, long abandoned building,
Outside of which was a sign, proclaiming :
'This is the crossroads of civilisation – Refuge of all the arts
Against the ravages of time – Armoury of fearless truth
Against the whispering rumour and incessant trumpet of trade.
From this place words may fly abroad – Not to perish as digital waves
But fixed in time – Verified in proof – Uncorrupted by the human hand.
Friend, when you enter, you stand on sacred ground.
THIS IS A BOOKSHOP!