Chapter 398 The Afterlife Every Booklover Hopes For . . . “Heap Me in Volumes of Fine Vellum Wrought”

I came across this poem recently, and while the author’s vision of the afterlife is nothing like Dante’s and the topic is a bit morbid, I just really liked it, so I’m sharing it below. Enjoy!

Books

Oh! Bury me in books when I am dead,
Fair quarto leaves of ivory and gold,
And silk octavos, bound in brown and red,
That tales of love and chivalry unfold.
Heap me in volumes of fine vellum wrought,
Creamed with the close content of silent speech;
Wrap me in sapphire tapestries of thought
From some old epic out of common reach.
I would my shroud were verse-embroidered too—
Your verse for preference—in starry stitch,
And powdered o’er with rhymes that poets woo,
Breathing dream-lyrics in moon-measures rich.
Night holds me with a horror of the grave
That knows not poetry, nor song, nor you;
Nor leaves of love that down the ages weave
Romance and fire in burnished cloths of blue.
Oh, bury me in books, and I’ll not mind
The cold, slow worms that coil around my head;
Since my lone soul may turn the page and find
The lines you wrote to me, when I am dead.

Zora Bernice May Cross
(1890-1964/Australia)

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