The Library Agenda

September 4, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | PETER'S WRITING, Poetry | 0 Comments |
"With you in charge, I am at ease." by Li Yansheng (1976) (Displayed in a series of prints venerating Chairman Mao at the Australian National Library, 2017)

"With you in charge, I am at ease." by Li Yansheng (1976) (Displayed in a series of prints venerating Chairman Mao at the Australian National Library, 2017)

(On the occasion of a rather chilly visit to the National Library, Canberra)

Entering the library, one feels alone,

No comfort on these shelves, no phone,

No sense of welcome or assistance,

Proprietorial resistance.

No books in sight; no chores to do,

Ideas not enclosed, neither old nor new.

Heroes extolled in olden times

Are traduced for their voguish crimes.

'Capt. James Crook' by Jason Wing (2013) ("the truth is that Australia was stolen by armed robbery."

‘Capt. James Crook’ by Jason Wing (2013) (“the truth is that Australia was stolen by armed robbery.”)

I lack the time, I lack the means

To gather up the left-wing magazines

In serried ranks, beneath gold frames

Of left-wing folks with famous names.

There’s Ben Chifley, Lenin, Mao Zedong,

Jack Lang and Trotsky, Marx and Huey Long,

Noble strikes displayed and the Barrier Reef,

Refugees, SSM; the progressive brief.

I can mark a card to book the Iliad

In two week’s time, or read the Grauniad

Right now. Excluded by architecture,

Swamped by polemic, conjecture,

I find no barriers coming down,

No friends at all in this lofty town.

National_Library_at_Dusk

 

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