There is a wonderful bookshop in the village of Penn, Buckinghamshire, that I have visited on many occasions. It is crammed with second hand books from floor to ceiling and in every available corner and floor space, and I have spent many a happy hour just browsing and telling myself that I do not need any more books on my shelves, only to come away with another armful. The building was once the village bakery and some time ago I was inspired to write a poem about it.
This is where the baker’s oven stood,
his wood store now a site for art and artists.
Inside the window nook
a hardback feast of cook books
spread thickly on a table top.
Serried spines of orange, blue and red
sit below the stairs that rise to a world
of bedtime reads and lashings of Blyton.
The inky smells of fresh pressed print
are now just musty memories of childhood.
Dust rests along the leaves of classics,
condemned to a sanctum of solemnity.
Poetry, masterful and mundane,
pristine and pock-marked, engulfs the floor.
Right angled to the window is the science,
where nonsense verse perversely props that shelf.
Ancient timbers creak beneath the heaps
on plants and gardens (most opened only once).
History is everywhere: inscribed inside
once treasured tomes,
dedications tell in ancient ink
those stories all their very own.