The Chester Beatty Library

This was published a while back in The Galway Review .

The Chester Beatty Library                                   

 In the Chester Beatty Library

Four elderly ladies

Permed, perfumed and powdered

Stroll past the ancient texts

The papyrus and the parchment

Seemingly unimpressed

By the evidence before them

That ever since we could stand upright

We have tried to leave foot prints

In the wet cement of time.

What intrigues the ladies,

It appears,

Is how these fragile treasures

These artifacts and amulets

Were safely transported

From their exotic homelands

To the airless glass cases

In which they now reside.

They explore this theme together

In intertwining solos

Like a modern jazz quartet

Like mythical creatures

Compelled to talk forever

Because they believe

That to stop

Would be to die.

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