The Books Will Still Be There

And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.

‘We are,’ they said, even as their pages
Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame
Licked away their letters. So much more durable
Than we are, whose frail warmth
Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.

I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will still be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.

And Yet the Books by Czeslaw Milosz.
Photographs of the library at Clonalis, County Roscommon (

5 comments on “The Books Will Still Be There

  1. writeondon says:

    A Room With A Few….books. Heavenly!

  2. Thanks for posting this. And a Happy New Year to all!

  3. Pauline Schara says:

    We sat in this very room when we stayed there and had tea. I see you have taken away the bars protecting the books. It is a beautiful setting. I want to be there again.

  4. Elizabeth Gruninger says:

    Elizabeth Grüninger


  5. Zick, Steven says:

    Hello hello—remind me—the last but one “O’Conor Don” was a Jesuit, which led to inheritance issues—Piers O’Conor-Nash inherited the house but not the title? Who has the title and apologies if you covered in an earlier post.

    I trust NYs chez McGuinness was spoiling as ever and I’m much in need of palm trees given current incessant cold rain over here. Only small mercy is it’s not cold enough to turn into snow…

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