vellichor

(noun): the strange wistfulness of a used bookstore

.

we tunnel through
the stacks,
run our hungry fingers
over the dog-eared pages
of the classics – how many
before us have inhaled this Austin,
that Dickens?

our hearts quicken
at the intricate patterns of pages,
the thrill of ink spilled;
bristle at the cheesy romance
imposters
along the edges.

we listen
for the corrugated
vvvt-vvvt of corduroy
jackets with
patchwork elbows,
catch a slant of sunlight
illuminating a (fairy) dusty corner.

there’s an inexplicable ceramic
cat reigning atop the poetry shelves.
(perhaps he of foggy feet fame?)

ay me! ’tis dire,
this knowledge that we’ll never
read them all; never read some of them again
for the first time, never breathe the bomb
-ination of their hum.

i am un
-hinged, impinged
screw loose and rattling
for the ache of gentle prattling of ancient
prose, the arch of nose bent low
………………………………into another place.

.

wordled for mindlovemisery
(with gratitude for the knowledge of this fantastic new word.)
also shared at Toads.

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22 Responses to vellichor

  1. gh0stpupp3t says:

    My favorite classic book will always be Huckleberry Finn… and my favorite contemporary book is IT by Stephen King. This is weird bc I hate clowns. They freak me out.

  2. This is amazing! I felt like I was right there with you in that store, I especially love the section about the corduroy jacket

  3. ManicDdaily says:

    This is just terrific–the details of the books but the very human (and accurate) details of the shop–the jacket sounds and especially the cat–wonderful—it IS a great word. Thanks much for this little break in the shop. k .

  4. Sanaa says:

    This was incredible..! Like others even I felt the same.. the feeling of being present in the book store and “run our hungry fingers over the dog-eared pages of the classics.” I just love the classics 😀 can’t get enough!
    Beautifully penned..!
    xoxo

  5. I have never really gotten that deep in the physical representation of the book.. There is that added layer that the paper adds… still the text has to be the most important… and there is so much more to read.

  6. Timoteo says:

    Who wrote this? You wrote this? It is amazing. (as are the others I’ve seen so far while scrolling down). And I see you’ve done a lot of inhaling too!

  7. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) says:

    Oh, yes, yes, yes!

  8. ihatepoetry says:

    Thank you for:
    “a slant of sunlight
    illuminating a (fairy) dusty corner.”

    I’ve always wanted to know how to describe it – now I know. Excellent love poem, btw.

  9. I worry about this all the time – all the great books out there that I have missed and all the great ones in the future. There is way too much out there! And yes, that feeling you can never have again (sort of like love) of never being able to read a book for the first time again and have it feel the same way. You have caught the essence of this word well!

  10. I was right there with you, de!! What magic you’ve brought us into…I love this poem!! It has the scent, and slant of dusty sunlight…very sensory. 🙂

  11. C.C. says:

    When I think of “vellichor” this is what I envision….to discover that you brought it all to life so stunningly is an absolute delight. This is simply magnificent. Every last word….right from the start of the tunnelling through the stacks! Brilliantly done 🙂

  12. coalblack says:

    When I was a young thing living in San Antonio, Texas, there was a very cool used book store close by and I spent a lot of time there. I could swap old books for credit, and so it suited my budget, too! I remember how certain popular titles of the recent past (at that time) were multiplying on the shelves. Need a paperback copy of “Jaws”? No problem! I still have a few of the books i bought there.

    I like the cat and the wondering why it is there, the “ay me!” and the rattling screw.

    Intr–

    Intrig—

    I was into it!

  13. Marian says:

    Wonderful, wonderful! Yes.

  14. hedgewitch says:

    This poem is fun on one level, excellent writing on all levels, and very immediate and real–how can you not pick up every likely book in a used bookstore??–I spend hours there and always wish I had more time.

  15. Kerry O'Connor says:

    I have never read anything that so accurately describes a bibliophile’s enchantment with old book stores as well as this poem.

    ’tis dire,
    this knowledge that we’ll never
    read them all; never read some of them again
    for the first time…

    Perfection!

  16. Candy says:

    Oh, bookstores! You’ve captured them well. I think Carl Sandburg is smiling 😉

  17. Rall says:

    Brilliant. These words were so difficult. Love the zipper sound on the corduroy and diving into ancient prose ‘screw loosed’ 🙂

  18. Susan says:

    Perfection! The magnetism of vellichor has me too in its thrall. I love it all, but this made me stand up and sit down and smile and pick up my keys–not that I don’t have a used bookstore-ish
    collection right here: “. . . never read some of them again
    for the first time, never breathe the bomb
    -ination of their hum.

    “i am un
    -hinged, impinged
    screw loose and rattling
    for the ache of gentle prattling of ancient
    prose, the arch of nose bent low
    ………………………………into another place.”

  19. julespaige says:

    I tried to find something from the 12th of May… You just have sooo much good stuff my friend. I’m trying to catch up on return visits… which I am a tad slow at sometimes…please do forgive. As you reiterated there is nay enough time.

    Such a cool word vellichor . Also reminds me of petrichor = (noun) a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.
    “other than the petrichor emanating from the rapidly drying grass, there was not a trace of evidence that it had rained at all”

    Out of a small hand full of other words that end in ‘chor’ I found – ichor…well the smell of ick.

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