Collegia – Ode 16: The Library


A silence reigns.
Anon a husky cough the stillness breaks,
Some little noise the student makes,
Then silence reigns!

A busy pen
Scratches upon the surface of a book,
Each man scarce time for one brief look
At fellow-men.

A restless stir,
A whispered consultation with the one
Next you, keeping an eye open
The officer.

A blowing nose,
As through the room circles the winter breeze,
A cough, a sniff, and then a sneeze,
And windows close.

Books on the shelves,
Put there for students’ private reference,
Are treated with cold deference,
Left to themselves.

A haven which
One can retire to when the anxious night
Draws on its cloak, and you’ve no light,
Not e’en a match!

21. 11. 1927