By Mary Lynn Kittelson
We have a place of wonder, where cherished books we love
are kept and organized on shelves But, as all professors know
— when scholarly push comes to artistic shove --
it’s committees that makes it go.
If the dining room’s the stomach, the library, above, is Coffman’s heart.
Inhabiting Two Stories, its staircase spirals like a spine.
What bookish creatures care for such a prize? Who does that,
cardiacal, and most silently, and with what art?
The tiny elves may want to sh-elve, but no, it’s the larger Gnomes
who can deal with the tomes. Unendingly it goes with the Toil of Librarying
Sometimes in dark of night, one gnome on its day, shelves books brought home.
They skip and totter, up and down and round (and sometimes elevatoring).
It happens that the smartest of patrons The Art of Filing sometimes lack.
PLEASE LEAVE SHELVING FOR THE GNOMES, the Gnomes recite (in rhyme).
The mis-shelved ones are never us! Oh, note the order of the stacks,
the lines of spines that stand for us, are (more or less) sublime.
Acquisitions and donations bring delight, but oh, the Gnomes must
timely judge when books we cannot use arrive — not make a fuss.
The ones they choose they do rejoice in! Then find the very place
they sure must go in — it’s a vaguely a priori space.
At times cataloguing gets quite gnarly, in ways you cannot start
to reckon; the lead librarians, revolving, say finally where each will go.
One Gnome excels in pencilling and stamping what’s necessary to know.
All is shelved, and then, with sad adieu, they place the other books on rolling cart,
accompany it, dirgelike, to the hall. At times, they slave away at dusting
book by book and all the shelves. And as advance, they’re lusting
for the tabled chocolate cake, their grand reward. On, snifflingly
they dust, and on, till finally they devour it, quite sneezingly.
Gnomes cast their votes for the very chairs we sit in,
and, knowing well the glare, discuss the placement of the table.
They have, in helping all survive the spiral staircase, used friends and wit.
Profound their task to recognize what’s best for the collection.
The gnomish noise crescendoes when they say what they’ve been reading.
In summary, it’s bouncing gnome to rousing tome, as all are able.
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