‘CUTS’ by Rosie Miles


What does it mean, the children ask, borrow a book?
Why borrow when you can buy everything – print on demand –

from a warehouse the size of the amazon rainforest
or download to read later?  They laugh when we say we

used to walk to a building where you could ‘borrow’ books.
The brown packages tumble through the letterbox:

as if they’d ever give them back!  The boy skims through
a billion pages.  The girl fondles her kindle like a wounded pet.

They look up at us and smile, their eyes shining pixels:
what does it mean, the last library has shut tight?

We try to explain.  Date stamps flicker on their lashes.

Rosie Miles (February 2011)

Rosie told us:
“I’d be very happy for you to repost the poem ‘Borrow’ that I donated to the Voices for The Library blog a few years ago when library cuts started to happen in earnest: http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/2011/04/borrow-a-poem-by-rosie-miles/
As a related but separate point, I’m just about to launch my debut poetry pamphlet CUTS at the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton, on Monday 1st June.  There have been some posters made to advertise the event and I have been sending them to libraries in the region.  In my trawl of libraries in the region online to find addresses I noted that quite a number of much smaller, local branches had longer opening hours than the Library of Birmingham.  This seemed ironic.”

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