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Children Selecting Books In A Library Analysis

Author: Poetry of Randall Jarrell Type: Poetry Views: 212

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With beasts and gods, above, the wall is bright.

The child's head, bent to the book-colored shelves,

Is slow and sidelong and food-gathering,

Moving in blind grace ... yet from the mural, Care

The grey-eyed one, fishing the morning mist,

Seizes the baby hero by the hair

And whispers, in the tongue of gods and children,

Words of a doom as ecumenical as dawn

But blanched like dawn, with dew.

The children's cries

Are to men the cries of crickets, dense with warmth

-- But dip a finger into Fafnir, taste it,

And all their words are plain as chance and pain.

Their tales are full of sorcerers and ogres

Because their lives are: the capricious infinite

That, like parents, no one has yet escaped

Except by luck or magic; and since strength

And wit are useless, be kind or stupid, wait

Some power's gratitude, the tide of things.

Read meanwhile ... hunt among the shelves, as dogs do, grasses,

And find one cure for Everychild's diseases

Beginning: Once upon a time there was

A wolf that fed, a mouse that warned, a bear that rode

A boy. Us men, alas! wolves, mice, bears bore.

And yet wolves, mice, bears, children, gods and men

In slow preambulation up and down the shelves

Of the universe are seeking ... who knows except themselves?

What some escape to, some escape: if we find Swann's

Way better than our own, an trudge on at the back

Of the north wind to -- to -- somewhere east

Of the sun, west of the moon, it is because we live

By trading another's sorrow for our own; another's

Impossibilities, still unbelieved in, for our own ...

"I am myself still?" For a little while, forget:

The world's selves cure that short disease, myself,

And we see bending to us, dewy-eyed, the great

CHANGE, dear to all things not to themselves endeared.


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