In the fulness of recorded time, this page will fill and fill with reviews of books about art. Meanwhile, recline for a moment or two and read this poem about the nature of the book itself, which was written for the Hay Festival, and published in Hypothetical May Morning (see SHOP).


There are books whose threshholds 
few would dare to cross.

There are books which spend all day
openly reclining, welcoming
a friendly approach.

There are books which exist solely to play a supportive role 
in the lives of other books,
and this makes them light, proud and unencumbered.

There are books which mock, feint and menace
like a fistful of wheedling needles;
and others which threaten bluntly,
straightforwardly – like a quarry hammer.

There are books full of tunnels and twisty,
dark passages where the reader may slip,
slither, stumble or fall.

There are books for high-singing voices,
and others for deep-throats or frogs.

There are books which transform the study
or the public library into a catwalk,
strutting and preening back and forth.

There are sad or unseemly books which hobble,
down-at-heel, and are scarcely able
to spit forth a word.

There are books which scream into our ken –
like a jet into the lives of those camped
beside the runway.

There are books which have been alive for centuries,
and no one – barring perhaps two or three of especial
cobwebby discernment – has even remarked upon 
the fact of their being alive.

There are books which exist solely to do good,
and others which stalk abroad with malicious intent
(the first kind may be quickly reduced to pulp
during an untimely spring shower; 
the second always know of some place to shelter).

There are books which are fatter than is good for them, 
and others so skinny that they are scarcely alive at all.
There are books which love to turn and turn about,
playing games with the reader, 
and others which are as straight, dependable and unadorned 
as a Roman road.

And everywhere I look there are books to left and right of me, 
meting out hope, distress and wild expectation.

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