Ars Libri: After Archibald MacLeish
J. Patrick Lewis
A book should be spirited and odd
As a divining rod,
As the wonder of a child,
Open to the sky and the slanting rain
As an attic’s shattered windowpane.
A book should measure its success
By a censor’s distress.
A book should be a million candle-watts
Brilliant as a marbled vein in a quarry
Bold enough to leave behind
Unpeace of mind.
A book should be a welcome overnight guest
Long after a day’s standardized test.
A book should be the map, flashlight and skeleton key
For all imaginations out of whack or work,
The CEO and the filing clerk,
Who yearn to see but hesitate to dream—
A book should both be