The Derelict and the Discard Bin

(Written while watching waves break on Galveston Island, October 10, 2020)

In bygone days befuddled men
Would run a sort of shop,
In which they sold old tattered books
For a few bucks a pop;

They’d skulk behind their counters,
Midst tottering towers of print,
And read, grunt, and begrudge,
Books I bought and books I didn’t.

Beside the door they’d set a bin,
Of books to take for free:
Old and odd and broken books
To befuddle men like me.

And thus, my mind was lumbered
With dry and dusty prose;
But in those junkyards sometimes sprang
A tough and thorny rose.

So, I became a rose hunter,
In the literary wastes,
And learned to love the thorny words
Of scribes, dead, doomed, disgraced.

They say a man can best be known
By the company he keeps,
So doomed and disgraced is the man,
Who into dead scribbling peeps;

He becomes another specter,
In the fashionable eye,
Of men who scorn to read a page
On which the ink is dry.

The fruit of my wayward reading,
In the wrack of the discard bin,
Is dry and acid and widely supposed
To taint like the apple of sin;

But those who have a taste for such,
And are thereby stamped as queer,
Can find what they crave in the discard bin
That we call the Orthosphere.

3 thoughts on “The Derelict and the Discard Bin

  1. Good!

    I spent a month of 1992 as a visiting fellow at UTMB, Galveston. It was an interesting and alien experience – and the summer climate was indescribably hostile for someone like me. But I learned some-things of importance – albeit of a negative kind. And the medical library was probably the best I have ever used.

    • Thanks. Spending a summer in the humid subtropics will, at least, make literature written in the humid subtropics more understandable. A summer in Galveston surely taught you what the adjectives “fierce” and “oppressive” mean when applied to heat. Much of landscape in and around Galveston is also fierce and oppressive. It is hard not to see a vast oil refinery as a symbol of the ahrimanic.

  2. Pingback: The Derelict and the Discard Bin | Reaction Times


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