Noisy Library – Poem by Peter Wyton

Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries is pleased to have received the support of local poet Peter Wyton. Peter is currently appearing on Mark Cummings morning show on B.B.C. Radio Gloucestershire on the first Monday of each month as the station’s Breakfast Bard.
‘The Peter Wyton poem’ also appears monthly in ‘Cotswold Life’.
Peter will be performing at a “Read-In” at Cheltenham Library on 5th February as part of the national day of protest against library cuts (more details to follow) in the meantime Peter has sent us his poem “Noisy Library”

NOISY LIBRARY

Welcome to the noisy library. This collection
of great works exists as a rejection
of that outdated concept, the ‘Nice Quiet read’,
which we have consigned to the Venerable Bede’s
monastic wheelie-bin. Every day, scores
of citizens flood through these doors,
select a book of their choice
and begin to give vociferous voice,
which is why I’m using this microphone,
otherwise I couldn’t possibly make myself heard
above the cacophony of the bellowed,
as opposed to the spoken word.
In this establishment, the staff don’t say, “ Shush.”
They yell, “ Oy mush! Here’s a first edition
of Francis Bacon’s Advancement of Learning.
Start turning the pages. Try to look a bit
more cheerful and give us an earful.”
We don’t want tedious, academic tossers
creeping around browsing. We want dossers
lurching in, carousing, spreading
their beer bellies all over the philosophy shelves
and really letting themselves go
on Jean-Paul Sartre and Aristotle,
in between swigs from the tequila bottle,
thoughtfully provided by the Senior Archivist,
who is, himself, more or less permanently inebriated.
Within a few feet of where we’re standing,
about thirty individuals are ranting away
perfectly happily from an assortment of titles.
My trained ear can detect recitals from
Shakespeare, Homer, Orwell, Shelley
and somebody seems to be giving particular
verbal welly to the unexpurgated version
of Lady Chatterley, that’ll be the Archbishop.
He pops in every Saturday. And on the occasion
when some eccentric actually wants to take
a book home, our Miss Newcombe head-butts
the borrower with her date-stamped forehead,
which you might think rather horrid,
but she’s got a 100% record behind her.
In 37 years, she’s never had to issue
a single second reminder. Which completes
our tour. Any questions? Lady over there
behind the potted palms? Banned books?
We never stock ‘All quiet on the Western Front’
or ‘Silence of the Lambs’!

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