Books are what a society carries its words in
and words have been written on stone, silk, slate, parchment,
wax, clay, screen

rolled into scrolls, collected in codexes,
laid out in rows, listed in indexes,

chained up in libraries, then, eventually, lent out for free,
once for the few, now, if they can read them,
for virtually anybody.

Pages of paper are perfect for turning,
though also quite handy for tearing and burning.

Once copied on vellum by medieval monks,
then bound into volumes of handleable chunks

then printed with Gutenberg's movable type
now scanned and instantly Googlable, ripe

for downloading to snazzy devices,
in reader responsive, low-priced, byte-sized slices,

Blistering broadside, poem, pamphlet and chapbook,
novels, blogs, diaries, essays, entries on Facebook -

words: written in silence, muttered in monasteries
have been sung, shouted, acted - now by digital industries
broadcast and mixed for our burgeoning multiculture,
but circled by many a gloom-laden vulture

crying "R.I.P. books: doomed to extinction
by some blinking e-inky, i-evil invention".

The word spreads and changes; that's my belief.
What next for the book? The future lies overleaf.


K said...

Awesome! My favorite part is this, "some blinking e-inky, i-evil invention". Fantastically fun when it trips off the tongue.

Anonymous said...

I liked the wording of your conclusion: “What next for the book? The future lies overleaf.” Did you mean when the day of the paper page is over? Or did you mean the page has yet to be turned, as in a good story that has not yet finished? Fun ambiguity there.

genevieve said...

It is indeed a page-turner. Thanks, Ben!

genevieve said...

whoops, I mean Chris. Sorry.

Kathleen Johnson said...

I thoroughly enjoyed that. Thanks! I like the last picture.