Up in the stacks,
it's dim
and quiet
with the musty smell
of old books
and maps
and color plates
on the dusty air.

In the rare books section,
towers of shelves
braced by butresses
of industrial green steel
seem to teeter
falling forward
or back.

The dull metal shelves
are filled to the brim
with brown leather
cracked and crumbling
with age.

Some are so old,
they never had spines,
but are merely
bound pages
sandwiched between
two slices
of leather
or wood.

Some are so old,
they sport gold leaf
or gilding
embossed on the covers,
or more likely,
the spine.

With these towers
of knowlege and learning,
and the quiet,
untouched stair,
it is easy to study,
but easier still
to daydream.

What adventures
in Middle English
or Old German
or Old Norse
do these tomes
keep secret?

What knowlege
to they hold
that has passed
from common knowing,
dismissed, unloved,
and unknown?

Are they rare
because no one
loved them,
or liked them,
or used them?

Or were they
so well loved,
that they were
worn to bits,
and only these
precious few remain?

Up in the stacks
of the venerable library,
up the twisting stair
up to the tippy-top,
stand the rare books
in leaning formation,
but still proud.

They keep their
secrets well,
but only if
you refuse to
ask them.