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A Parliament of Poets by Zoe Duhaime

April 18th, 2016

A PARLIAMENT OF POETS
(a storypoem for BC Book Day)
Prepared by and presented on BC Book Day by Victoria Youth Poet Laureate, Zoe Duhaime.

1st page
Welcome to the parliament of poets.

2nd page
You will feel, like any child, a pull to the library.
Welcome to the top of the mountain,
the roses of the flower bed,
the warren in an endless field.
the room is cold, but the spines are red,
No food allowed, but the minds are fed.
You’ll want to spend all day here,
and you can, my friend!

3rd page
The guards dim the lights at dusk,
the mystery starts to wake up.
This is where you learn how stone stretches,
how stone breaks.
Because the gargoyles and grotesques come to life
in the night,
in the library.

4th page
And the first thing to happen
is the little grotesque in the library –
the little lion with a lizard face,
scampers quickly, through the night,
to the muses!
With a copy of Like Water For Chocolate
wishing his little stone hands could cook
the gargoyle has fallen in love with muse,
who has no legs,
so he brings her stories ever night

5th page
Have you ever wondered how grotesques and gargoyles age?
It isn’t the salt,
it isn’t the weather at all,
it isn’t the harsh wind,
whipping sharp leaves around in fall.
It is the absolute love of books,
and the inevitable fighting of wild things
over a favourite story.

6th page
A careful and archived room
becomes a flurry
of page
of stone
gargoyles losing teeth in a fight over
A Room of One’s Own.

Et puis,
dans la coin
une gargouille
avec le petit prince.
Souriant!
Avec une bouche vide,
mais un tete plein
des astéroïdes.

7th page
Queen Victoria has a copy of Emma hidden in her gowns.
Emma Woodhouse and the Queen are best friends.
Austen died two years before the Queen was born,
but they both understand a grey country,
they both understand a good fire and a good friend,
they both understand the particular fear of men.
So a copy of Emma by Jane Austen is hidden beneath the Queen’s stone gown.

8th page
The bear,
the wolf,
the otters,
the eagle,
the raven
by the fountain have been trying to get through
All About Love, by bell hooks
for some time now.
But they find it hard to turn pages with wings and claws
so they let a library grotesque read aloud to them
and when the sun starts to rise, there’s applause.

9th page
The totem pole reads a book one page at a time,
passing it down until they all know what’s going on.
Sometimes one of them will start to cry or laugh
and the others wait patiently
to find out why.
Tonight they are reading
The Colour Purple.

10th page
When the morning begins to begin
it is a chorus of gargoyles and grotesques that let everyone know.
limping, clutching books,
running through the hallways
telling everyone what they read,
and happily,
tiredly,
with the morning
it is time for the library to go to bed.