The Truth Is Dangerous (2015-08-11)

The Truth Is Dangerous (2015-08-11)

Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life.” ―Helen Exley

My wife recently came across this fine poem by Joseph Mills (relevant to the above quotation) on that excellent blog, Brain Pickings.


“If Librarians Were Honest

‘…a book indeed sometimes debauched me from my work…’

—Benjamin Franklin

If librarians were honest,

they wouldn’t smile, or act

welcoming. They would say,

You need to be careful. Here

be monsters. They would say,

These rooms house heathens

and heretics, murderers and

maniacs, the deluded, desperate,

and dissolute. They would say,

These books contain knowledge

of death, desire, and decay,

betrayal, blood, and more blood;

each is a Pandora’s box, so why

would you want to open one.

They would post danger

signs warning that contact

might result in mood swings,

severe changes in vision,

and mind-altering effects.

If librarians were honest

they would admit the stacks

can be more seductive and

shocking than porn. After all,

once you’ve seen a few

breasts, vaginas, and penises,

more is simply more,

a comforting banality,

but the shelves of a library

contain sensational novelties,

a scandalous, permissive mingling

of Malcolm X, Marx, Melville,

Merwin, Millay, Milton, Morrison,

and anyone can check them out,

taking them home or to some corner

where they can be debauched

and impregnated with ideas.

If librarians were honest,

they would say, No one

spends time here without being

changed. Maybe you should

go home. While you still can.” © Ken Stange 2012-2015