Reluctant Reader

My attic, garage, and rooms housing beds,

Are stuffed to the rafters with colourful books:

Impressive and ancient, hard-backed, sublime,

In pristine condition but mostly unread.

I sneak past them all, with furtive looks,

Avoiding their bitter, silent resentment.

Tonight, I will go straight to sleep, instead.


These Classic works of English fiction,

These Masterpieces of the writer’s craft,

These Paragons of form and diction,

Lie stacked upon the shelves, unread.

Their words, unsaid.

Unopened, abandoned, all forlorn.

Seeded, conceived, and gone full term,

But lying there, alas, still born.


A mis-used phrase, a far-fetched plot,

Simulating truth, from what is not,

Turns me away, a disgruntled lover,

Searching around, to find another,

To seek perfection under their cover.

Until a message from my mobile phone,

Sees me scrolling down, happily,

 All on my own!


◄ Pop Gun

The Reluctant Reader Returns ►


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Kevin Tan

Sat 10th Jun 2023 23:07

Then take my accusations as love John, for it will certainly benefit us more

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John Botterill

Tue 6th Jun 2023 22:48

Gilt edged Tennyson, Bethany? Perfect adornment for a shelf 😀 probably wouldn't read it though.
Thanks for your comment. Loved it 😁

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Bethany Sallis

Tue 6th Jun 2023 19:18

Know EXACTLY where you are coming from John ( almost ) being poetry book swamped myself but I'm sure I would be kicking myself if I sent even a few of them packing especially my gilt edged Tennyson! great read matey!

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John Botterill

Tue 6th Jun 2023 12:35

I know that feeling, Uilleam. I have made lists of books I must read before I shuffle off, but I just lose the lists haha. I am a sad embarrassment to the English teaching profession! Thanks for your comments, as ever. And thanks for the likes Nigel and John C

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Tue 6th Jun 2023 10:18

Decades of rooting around in second hand book shops have left me with shelves full of un-half-read books on all kinds of subjects.
They're up there on my left, haunting me, like the missus looking over my shoulder when I'm cooking in the kitchen.

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John Botterill

Mon 5th Jun 2023 21:11

Thanks Keith for the typically supportive and interesting comment. 😀
My problem with reading in the toilet is that I might not just get piles of books! 😂
Thanks for the likes Clare, Manish and Stephen A . 😀

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John Botterill

Mon 5th Jun 2023 21:00

Thanks very much Kevin, Matilda and John for generous and enlightening comments.
Kevin: I have never been accused of sincerity before. Thank you! 😁
Matilda : I am impressed by your range of quotations and by your fascinating reflections on my poem. Thank you. Not sure that Marie Antoinette is the guru I want to follow, although I I do like cake. 😂
John : I can't refuse to die because
I have books I still need to read, as I can never finish a book. The last one I finished was 'Janet and John, Book 5, This Time it's Personal' 😂

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keith jeffries

Mon 5th Jun 2023 19:24

thank you for this poem in which a lot of truth lies hidden. A dear old gentleman I once knew had a similar hoard of unread books in an attic. He transferred them regularly to a small bookcase in his downstairs toilet where he read them at his leisure. He also invited his guests to take one or read when concealed in the loo. This reading venue became well known and was in fierce competition with a council mobile library van which came weekly. After his death I inherited quite a few good books.
Excellent poem.

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John Gilbert Ellis

Mon 5th Jun 2023 16:04

Taking me back to worrying about all the books, movies, TV, music I've got to get through before I can't.

Love the idea!

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Matilda Simakaj

Mon 5th Jun 2023 13:43

Thank you for your poem John!
I think at this moment it was like a storm of captivating ideas...
I read years ago: If you want a new idea, just read a old book!
I don't know why but reading your poem my mind was wondering what old book can I read?!😂😂
Reading: "Until a message from my mobile phone, Sees me scrolling down, happily, All on my own!" my rumination ran to a quote of Marie Antoinette: "There is nothing new except what has been forgotten!'' 😂😂
How this quote is related to your last stanza? I don't know.😂 Maybe because sometime during the day I scroll on my phone but I don't find something new.😂

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Kevin Tan

Mon 5th Jun 2023 12:59

Haha. That's why I done away so many of my books. This is the porn generation. We need something more arousing & stimulating. Like half-naked instatubers! Love the sincerity John

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