Surface Tension


I love the feel of old books
their translucent skin fingered thin
beneath the labor of unseen eyes,
their penciled veins and sketched symbols
underlined to reveal vagaries of use
or ill-use, the dog-eared tracks
like a story weathered often.

I love the feel of young books
their spines supple and unbent
over newly ploughed words, scented
raw with ink, inviting rude exercise of fresh
untrammelled progress over a virgin realm
unriddled with sign-posts of past travellers
and winters yet to be borne.

But in the feel, the loss, the find of disconnect
-ed glassy surfaces that reflect my anonymity
I find no warmth, save lifeless heat
in what neatly lies in my palm
promising in digital feat
an unencumbered progress
to less and less

13 thoughts on “Surface Tension

  1. Fantastic poem! I especially like these lines: “their translucent skin fingered thin /
    beneath the labor of unseen eyes” — very evocative. Interestingly, though there is a sense of diminishment in the digital realm in the closing stanza, I also felt that your perverse choice to end on the single, resonant word “effect” seemed to hint that the very coldness and lack of overt sensuality in the digital experience is balanced by the new immortality of this medium: it lacks the character, but also the fragility, of the analog mediums. Perhaps in its cold immortality, the digital offers a more perverse sensuality than the older books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You bring an interesting perspective and I’ll have to cogitate upon it though I will say that I agree that its “cold immortality” would seem a desirable feature for an author.


    1. Exactly like that. My first reading of Pickwick Papers was a yellowed used paperback but I loved it, never gave it up. And won’t. Books are teddies too. 😀🧸


    1. I’m reading a book right now off my smartphone just because for convenience you can’t beat it. And the mess my bookshelves are right now … well that’s another, um, poem 🙂Thanks so much for your comment, Anne.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the feel of books, too, and I much prefer to read physical books. Yet, I do appreciate the convenience of digital books and the availability. It’s the same with old documents. There’s something special about holding a document that was penned hundreds of years ago, but I’m also thrilled that I can now find so many digitized and online.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s always that tension, isn’t there, between convenience and aesthetics in all its multi-dimensional facets. I’m like you. I’m not such an antiquarian that I’m going to turn my nose up at what’s easily available 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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