second hand books like refugees

dog eared,

the worse for their experiences

wait patiently in rows

psalms embalmed

some with photographs tight held


loved by the departed

resources behind

and around their spines

obituaries of once -  bright age

of facts captured



like refugees they come and go

to join new families

in new musty ranks

in holding centres

close to hearts unknown

where the sniffers and fondlers dwell.





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Thu 19th Jan 2017 16:30

elP: I take your points; I don't think the written word will wither completely but the incentive to print it may do in view of costs - so keep cherishing.

Colin. Thanks for the comment. I have a few 1st editions, all uner £20, but I agree with your assessment. How interesting about the refugees, Wales has a good reputation for culture generally. Glad you like it.

Raj: Very kind, don't we love'em! I remember when Charing X road bookshops all spilled out on the the pavements, great days.

David: I'm so glad you immediately got the double entendre idea and also no judgments ; you are the perfect reader! That's great for the South bank, nice and homely. Great place for germ warfare!

Stu: Thanks for picking that - a fortunate mind game popping its cork.

Thanks all Ray

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Thu 19th Jan 2017 15:23

Thanks elP . I very much take your point! I'm going to try to outmanoeuvre this malware. Apparently its a semi legit but aggressive adware attachment designed to trap you into revealing buying habits online etc. Large brandy and paracetamol to the ready. Then i'll get back to thanks all...


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Wed 18th Jan 2017 21:23

...sorry about your troubles, Ray. I just thought maybe I should qualify my comment by saying "freedom as in free from being studied like a lab rat by marketing parasites and data brokering vultures." But, Colin is right, blindness does seem much more frightening.

Enjoyed the read, Ray.

(and David is right, it is a book fetish)

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Wed 18th Jan 2017 20:52

All you valued readers deserve an individual response, but I am having problems online: when I press "add comment" I get a spam page which closes me off ; it also happens when I add a blog sometimes. So for now I have tried to reset my password, but am on hold while this kicks in to the revised one. I'll get back to you ..... thanks one and all.


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Stu Buck

Wed 18th Jan 2017 19:21

worth it for psalms embalmed alone.

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Wolfgar Miere

Wed 18th Jan 2017 12:32

Hi Ray,

it is a very thought provoking analogy. It's also refreshingly open, we can choose to concentrate on the book or the refugee..I know that's the whole point really but the distinctions are quite separate in this case.

We read books and interpret them as we wish, as we read the presumed intentions of refugees and then embrace or discard them accordingly.

Also you have a book fetish, which is widely shared. There is a great book market outside the BFI on the South Bank, watching the sniffers and fondlers is a great pastime whilst having a swift half.


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Raj Ferds

Wed 18th Jan 2017 11:57

Love the analogy Ray.
Second hand books are like vintage wine and need to be treasured.


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Paul Waring

Wed 18th Jan 2017 08:55

I like this a lot Ray. Great idea to characterise second hand books as refugees. Yeh, for many it could be a sad existence, some craving for another caring owner, others wishing they were in their prime again on the glamourous shelves of Waterstones! Paul

<Deleted User> (13762)

Wed 18th Jan 2017 08:15

I fear a Fahrenheit 451 scenario or blindness more than the digital age elP - we seem to have an insatiable urge for the printed word that even the likes of Kindle can only scratch at - although first edition fiction hardbacks annoy me for their sheer waste of resources, pomposity and weighty bulkiness - you know when one of those falls on your face when you doze off!

I am fortunate to have a very large secondhand book charity store close by, the aim of which is to keep books from going to landfill. You are allowed to take 3 books per visit. I think I must now have enough for a lifetime of reading and the weight of all those volumes on the shelves behind I find reassuring as I sit down to my daily write.

And the Oxfam book store in Swansea works closely with refugees, giving them an opportunity to volunteer in the shop, which seems fitting in the context of your poem Ray. And just the other day they had a day out hiding art books around the town for people to find. And then there is which encourages people to leave a book in a public place to be found, read and passed on by a stranger in order to "make the whole world a library." Via the website you can supposedly track your book as it travels the world although I have never tried it.

well you've really got me waffling Ray. That last verse is a gem btw. Col.

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Wed 18th Jan 2017 02:11

I collect and cherish much more than I'll ever read for I've an ever strong attraction to the written word. But, I believe there is a freedom in print that could one day be denied us in the digital age.


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