Benches and Book Vaults
The only company is the pigeons that fly at knee height and settle on the ground. He watches as a girl sits cross-legged to photograph her beau. He watches how shadows of birds climb walls in sunlight. He feels cold. The thought of toast just made from an old pop-up toaster, the sound the knife makes across its surface and how the butter…. He walks on through sunlight wondering if, to a ghost, it might seem a wall impenetratable. There are concrete towers, there were slums the concrete towers replaced.
The arrow to Scoob takes him down metallic stairs into a low-ceilinged basement where books are ranged in avenues of shelves. He listens to the dusty quiet in which pages murmur of someone close they’ve lost – History, Politics, Architecture, the film section open access – Poetry a little harder to get to, enclosed in a little room of shelves where two people must be conscious of each other. Up on Marchmont Street the man still smiles into the camera of his girl as she squats beside him on the sunny bench. No sunlight here exactly, in the little Poetry room with its walls of spines and titles – an older daylight reflects up from the open page, a light of rivers, reeds and orchards sunlight passes through.
Kenneth Hyam Jan 2012.