National Libraries Day

Friday 3rd February 2012

“KNIT scarves, for presents.”

It was my son Gaius’s idea: being resourceful; during the long winters of the reign of Thatcher; sitting by a fire of off-cuts of timber, found in skips; seeing how many stitches we could do while listening to Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row.

I picked up the needles again a couple of years ago. They wanted a photograph for Let’s Knit. According to an email from Library Support Services, ‘this is the magazine to have an article in!’

The commission was to be unveiled on National Poetry Day. Reading the criteria for the poem, I thought they must be joking:

…ideally 14 lines in length (one line per library)… each line of similar length (to allow for roughly the same amount of knitting to be coordinated by each library)… little or no punctuation… positive and uplifting… definitely avoid reflecting drab, stereotypical views of libraries… the reading experience as a fantastic, liberating, exciting and reaffirming window into the world… not be seen as (exclusively) a children’s poem; whilst being reasonably accessible to all, it should avoid any tendency towards “tweeness”.

Far too demanding. But then…

A sonnet maybe; or go for an exact same length to each line; perhaps try to include every letter of the alphabet. If they’re going to make it hard, why not make it even harder?

The tapestry toured all fourteen South Gloucestershire libraries. None of the knitters knew how their letters fitted in till it was finished. Just couldn’t squeeze in a J or Z, but did manage 24 characters for each library.

Thatcher’s spawn are trying to close lots of them. Not if I can help it.

Marcus Moore Attempts to
Knit One Pearl of Wisdom

Inner contentment I find
In the contents of pages
Quietly speaking volumes
Found on shelf and stand
When rapt in rug snuggle
Pleasures of the library
A feast of fiction fable
Manual music mystery map
Drama DIY dictionary DVD
For browwwsers explorers
And chatterbook children
Who see books like doors
Widening minds eyes open
To elsewheres everywhere

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2 Responses to National Libraries Day

  1. The criteria sound like some of the branding, marketing, corporate vision, mission and values, style guide oriented, advertising campaign guidelines and briefs that land on my desk. Bravo for giving them something of beauty and well done for expanding the challenge, but if all they wanted was a photograph, what became of the blanket? is it keeping you warm?

    Of course, I would never mistrust your text counting, but did wonder about this one – it seemed to only be 2000 characters, not 2012. However, as depicted in the blanket your poem should end with “Marcus More” and if I add that to the end of the actual text, then it does make 2012 – amazing.

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