The Chester Beatty Library (Poem)

A slightly different version of this poem was published a while back in The Galway Review .  I am posting this edited version as part of dVerse’s open link Thursday.

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,
Is how these fragile treasures
These artefacts 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.


If you are ever in Dublin, the Chester Beatty Library is well worth a visit. The photo below is not the Chester Beatty Library, but it was taken in Dublin in September. I am including it here to show that the sun shines in Dublin but the clouds are always on the move.



27 thoughts on “The Chester Beatty Library (Poem)

  1. Lona Gynt

    And… they might just be right. 🤔
    Maybe that is why we keep posting… mythical creatures indeed! I really like this Jim, I could go on and on… but entropy is on the phone. 💜


  2. Brendan

    Yes — not that we have always said I and I and I and I but that not to is to die. It makes the ladies flow in and out of the rooms choiring Beat Michealangelo with such a sigh, like poems of their own melting. Yes.


  3. peterfrankiswrites

    Lovely funny piece, captures the scene so well. It is of course, an interesting question of modern museology about how objects come to be where they are – but I’m guessing this isn’t quite the point of your portrait.


  4. Gospel Isosceles

    Whimsical and full of wisdom at once. I enjoy the phrase, “the wet cement of time.” And your photograph will be a delight to my husband who has a daily obsession of checking the weather in various places around the world. He’s fascinated that Dublin almost always has a seven-day forecast marked by a little raincloud. Enjoy your sunshine!



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