Dust o’ Books by Arthur Wheelock Upson

Slantwise one long starbeam finds
Access through the jealous blinds,
Lingeringly, lance at rest
On the Poet loved the best.
Feeling softly down the shelves
Where my books reveal themselves;
And, beneath its trembling glow,
Faint, fine blooms, like plum-mist show
Dust o’ Books, I love you so!

Wrecks of olden minstrelsy
When the lilting tide is lee.
Ride at flood into our cove
To protest unaltered love;
Or, diffused into the night.
Some sweet Spirit of the Past,
Poising in an airy flight.
Doth behold a home at last
Here with books he fathered when
He was tangible to men
— Mew his soul up in some sphere
When he might be basking here! —
Now the Lady Moon looks in,
Searching with her finger thin
To detect the gentle fluff
From some rose of long ago,
Which, once found, doth seem enough
To provoke her tenderest glow —
Dust o’ Books, she loves you so!

Watch Diana set the name
Of her lover-bard aflame,
Through the casement golden streets
Flooding to the name of Keats!
And the silken dust she tries
That on my table-Browning lies.
Pollen of the Reddest Rose
Our Parnassus-garden grows.
Dust? Nay, their own ashes rest
On the works their love caressed:
Out of linen and levant
Thoughts of masters emanant,
From the outer wash of air
Their sweet ashes settled there!
This is creed to all of us
And dust of earth, unluminous,
Hath no gold like this we know
Of an otherworldly glow —
Dust o’ Books, we love you so!

From: Upson, Arthur and Burton, Richard (ed.), The Collected Poems of Arthur Upson, Edited with an Introduction by Richard Burton, 1909, Edmund D. Brooks: Minneapolis, pp. 7-8.

Date: 1900

By: Arthur Wheelock Upson (1877-1908)

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