Wednesday, 13 July 2011

To Me, Reading is Me

It was a joke, or let us say
The most hard-hitting statement:
"If you want to hide anything from Africans
Hide it in a book"
First I looked at the statement from afar
Unsure about its veracity or intentions
Then I drew closer to it, we were now
Eye-ball to eye-ball
Its cold gaze and grimace said it all
I looked around
Half-baked graduates with half-baked ideas
With half-baked dreams
You see professors in ghostly rimmed glasses
Lecturing from notes written twenty years ago
Fraud intellectuals, quack doctors, quack lawyers
Quack experts
You find 'experts' learned in abstractions half-understood
Postulating on the science of man and plants
What books have they read if not those
Big tomes of technical whatnots?
What novel have they read?
Which page-turner have they flipped?
Have they read Shakespeare or Dunia Mti Mkavu?

Many ask what makes a man tick
I say what he reads from pleasure
And as they speak, we notice it
That occasional phrase from Lewis Carrol
That beautiful imagery, that proverb from our people
We are not robots, we are human first!

To betray our fear
We avoid carrying books openly
As if some curious soul might ask
'Hey, is that a book you carry?'
What is amiss?
If I carry an encyclopedia and a collegiate dictionary
On my arms, which section of the law have I breached?
Plus it is my arms, right?
Now, if I go to the library
Why should I brush it off with
'Got to do some assignment'
To whom do I owe an apology
To drink from the fountain of knowledge?

I have no apology to make

Now or in the future
Call me a 'bookworm' all you want
How I wish you knew of a new book's
If only you sat through the night reading
Grisham's book
Sometimes laughing, sometimes crying
Had you discovered 'you' in a book
Travelled to new lands, coursed through
A poet's quill, got agitated for a character murdered
Yearned for a moment to whisper escape to your hero
Hopped onto a train chugging through history
Witnessed man's tragedy, uncovered well-kept secrets
Discovered heroes and heroines
If only you experienced a drop of this
Out of the ocean of man's treasure trove
You would consider calling me a bookworm
May be not exactly, because
This life, brother, is a book
The North Pole and South Pole are the Covers
And the breathing souls inside are the characters
We learn from them, we unlearn from them
We relearn from them--in real time.

C) Lorot Salem 2011


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my goodness this is so powerful!!!!!!!! I most especially love the "train chugging through history", and the North and South Pole being book covers, and "the breathing soul inside are the characters." I love it, Salem. Here's a bumper sticker: Real Men Read!:)

Salem Lorot said...

Thank you so much Koko. That is why I admire your zeal for books. As always. :)

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