The Meaning of Jumble

by E A M Harris

Take it if you want.
I bought it at a jumble sale,
a half-forgotten shuffle
round a strange church hall,
ten years ago.

I never discovered which charity
supported so caringly those piles
of old clothes and home-made pies,
but at such affairs one must buy.
So I bought that

no doubt out of print, red-spined novel
in a language I can’t read – a silent Babel.
But the smart Gothic script moulds
pages, chapters, – back to back words
like ideal trestle tables

lining straight, white aisles, loaded
with meaning; neat,
sharp-cornered, dense.
I gave ten pence, an inch of shelf
ten years ago.

Bought it for the look of the letters,
some small change to a local cause
and because the bookstall lady,
bold in others’ service,
with her glass one, caught my eye
and dared me to walk by.

E A M Harris is just starting out on her writing career.

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  1. #1 by Freya Morris on August 21, 2011 - 9:01 am

    Love yor descriptions of the written word. It also has such a British feel about it.

  2. #2 by jennifer walmsley on August 21, 2011 - 10:39 am

    Really enjoyed this. Loved the rhythm and the description of the book. Humourous end with the bookseller catching her eye.

    Good start to your writing career.

  3. #3 by Oonah on August 21, 2011 - 11:08 am

    Nice work

  4. #4 by Nathan on August 21, 2011 - 4:56 pm

    I liked this very much – if this is you just starting out I’m looking forward to seeing how good you might get.

  5. #5 by mariann on August 22, 2011 - 10:16 am

    Love the imagery in this poem and also its tight structure. So few words, so large a picture.

  6. #6 by E A M Harris on August 22, 2011 - 9:11 pm

    Thank you to all of you who have commented. It’s great to know you like my work and useful to know the reasons.
    It’s made my week reading your comments.

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