The Library

Now the shelves are on tracks
And for days -- who knows? -- weeks,
Whole rows are entombed
Between other rows.

As you pass each row, a light sensor
The fluorescents shudder and blink,
And there it is:
The crypt of the intellect.

If you want a book from a row, you turn a massive handle
On one end;
The shelves press against each other,
Groaning like old bones,
And an opening appears:

The books stretch and exhale
Their breath of dust and erudition;
The authors, cold in their graves,
Just a little:
Their name,
Their work,
Is briefly lit,
Quickly glanced at,
Perhaps even thumbed
By the living.

Back outside,
You are still haunted:
Knowledge obscuring knowledge,
The weight of the world's work,
Alphabetized, digitized, catalogued,
Wisdom collapses in on itself;
A black hole of anti-thought
Formed from the gravity
Of our desire to know.

Darkness comes on
Like a silent movie locomotive
From behind our flat screens.
It passes.
We are gone.

If we vanish,
It will be because
We were too busy with our knowing
To truly learn.

--Mr. Gobley

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