At the Bookcase

Accept my greetings, ancient scrolls, and favor my kiss in your dusty slumber. From sailing to foreign isles my soul has returned, and like a wandering dove, trembling and with weary wings, once more it knocks at the entrance to its childhood nest. Do you recognize me? I am he! Your bosom-child from way back, the abstinent one. Of all the divine delights in the wide world my early years knew only yours, you were my garden on a hot summer’s day and on winter nights my pillow. I learned to bundle my soul into your scrolls for safekeeping, and to fold into your columns my holy dreams. Do you still remember? — I have not forgotten — In an alcove in a desolate house of study I was the last of the last, on my lips the fathers’ prayers fluttered and died, and in a hidden corner there, by

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