woman in blue striped flannel shirt holding a book indoors
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on


We all of us have sneaked a look
Beneath the fly-sheet of a book,
And fingered off her jacket, bared her boards –
Within, she’s nothing but a prude,
Her marbled end-sheets firmly glued,
Her bindings taut and frayless in their cords.
Her underwear is stiff and plain –
Her paper blouse must block the stain
Of endless greasy paws and sweaty hordes.
But she is flimsy in her gown,
It tears and creases, lets her down,
As grasping, eager hands make careless wards –
The better writ, the more she’s read
Until her spine is cracked for dead –
So dogs shall ear all good books, save the Lord’s.
And worse, the paperbacks !   Those dames
Who proudly bare their racy names
Across their breasts, like penny-dreadful broads –
Yet she too welcomes ev’ry leer,
Her first of many lovers here
Who gorge all words she joyously affords –
Though she’s still crisp and virgin-white,
Her pages quite uncut and tight,
That readers must tease open with their swords.

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