While flipping through one of my volumes of Seamus Heaney’s poetry, I found the draft of a poem I’d written tucked amongst its pages. This kind of behavior is a vestige of my younger self; leaving bits of ephemera scattered throughout my library, to stumble across serendipitously on some future day.
It was also a vestige of a time when, though the internet existed, I didn’t turn to it habitually, or even intermittently, to answer questions I knew how to look up within my own books. I didn’t google poems that I was then forced to read on some designer’s intrusive idea of a “cool” web layout. I turned to my books, over and over; turned the pages to find what I was looking for, be it a sonnet or a phrase or an image, or even marginalia I myself had inscribed there. I lived in my books, as well as living with them.
Though my draft is undated, I must have entrusted this poem to Seamus at least fifteen years ago, which is the last time I was reading him thoroughly enough to dream his lines. It was tucked between "Glanmore Sonnets" I and II, though I no longer remember what words might have visited me as I slept. Almost any of them on those two pages alone are evocative enough for a visitation; perhaps having read them anew today I will dream them again tonight, and remember.
…sheets dashed aside
my nightly bookshelf vigil
churning up the resting half
of a Glanmore sonnet that fell,
like a stone, into my sleep.
-MJ Millington, sometime in the early 2000s.