“In the Library” by Charles Simic

There’s a book called
A Dictionary of Angels.
No one had opened it in fifty years,
I know, because when I did,
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered

The angels were once as plentiful
As species of flies.
The sky at dusk
Used to be thick with them.
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away.

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows.
The library is a quiet place.
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books.
The great secret lies
On some shelf Miss Jones
Passes every day on her rounds.

She’s very tall, so she keeps
Her head tipped as if listening.
The books are whispering.
I hear nothing, but she does.


“In the Library” by Charles Simic from The Voice at 3:00am. © Harcourt, 2006

2 thoughts on ““In the Library” by Charles Simic

  1. What a magnificent imagery! You know, when I love reading a piece about a place or moment, I always get this strong urge to be in that place or in that moment to understand each word/emotion. Now I’m a frequent visitor to the library, but I never could express my observations and feelings so clearly. It feels like a failure right now. 😦

    Thank you, Christy, for this one, and all other great words here. Keep our Words for the Year alive for another decade please.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember discussing libraries with you and the movie City of Angels. 🙂 This would have been a great poem for that conversation.

      Oh don’t say failure! We all have specific talents and strengths. Your photographs speak more elegantly than the majority of writers can, and I can still taste the hot chocolate of your poems past.

      This poem is special though and I’m glad you see it and can hear it too, like the librarian.

      Another decade? 😳
      Mayyyybe another year…but after a short break to read and gather material. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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