(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,
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.
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.