In the Library

for Octavio

There's a book called
A Dictionary of Angels.
No one had opened it in fifty years,
I know, because when I did,
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered

The angels were once as plentiful
As species of flies.
The sky at dusk
Used to be thick with them.
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away.

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows.
The library is a quiet place.
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books.
The great secret lies
On some shelf Miss Jones
Passes every day on her rounds.

She's very tall, so she keeps
Her head tipped as if listening.
The books are whispering.
I hear nothing, but she does.


From Selected Poems (Faber and Faber, 2004), copyright © Charles Simic 2004, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Charles Simic

Charles Simic Reading from his poems

1Butcher Shop

£0.89

2Cockroach

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3Fork

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4The Partial Explanation

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5Prodigy

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6Shelley

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7Factory

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8Folk Songs

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9Country Fair

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10The Clocks of the Dead

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11Transport

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12Reading History

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13Cameo Appearance

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14Ghosts

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15At the Cookout

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16Club Midnight

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17Pastoral Harpsichord

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18The Soul Has Many Brides

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19Unmade Beds

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20The One To Worry About

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21Cherry Blossom Time

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22The Altar

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23My Father Attributed Immortality to Waiters

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24Views from a Train

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25Serving Time

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26Cabbage

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27Paradise

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28In the Library

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29The Tiger

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30Evening Walk

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31The Old World

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32Empires

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33The Tower

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34Late Call

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35Emily’s Theme

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36The Friends of Heraclitus

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Books by Charles Simic