This line from Emily Dickinson may remind us that reading—which up to now has tended to mean books, magazines, newspapers, and the like, though that is changing—is fundamental to intellectual development and the refinement of language, if not to its origin. Most of us who write, whether it be poetry or any other genre, tend to read a great deal; the words, phrases, and ideas we use often are gleaned from other writers, not necessarily in toto but in spirit. This ‘traverse that the poorest may take,’ to paraphrase Dickinson, nonetheless can “take us lands away,” and, in so doing, open up ways of thinking and writing we had not dreamed of. That is the great gift of books. Write a poem about a book or books, or the act of reading.


HOLY BOOK (a sonnet)

A book of books; a letter to mankind
God-breathed to men of many walks of life –
And yet this faultless work is undermined.
Some say its very Author causes strife.
Translated into fourteen hundred tongues,
No other book approaches such renown
As this, which is as breath to failing lungs.
Throughout, God’s living hallowed voice resounds.
Amazing in enduring relevance
Astonishing consistency of thought
Unparalleled in unbound eminence –
Deny its holiness?  No, I cannot.
Though there are those who disregard His word,
My God will not be silenced, nor unheard.
© 2013,  Marie Elena Good



Of little things are readers made:
the word; the page; the well-turned phrase;
the sentences; the great parade
of little things. Are readers made
to merely see? The mind would fade
if that were so, but no, in plays
of little things are readers made:
the word; the page; the well-turned phrase.
© copyright 2013, William Preston



Words blend
sending imagination reeling,
feeling every emotion or notion
of adventure. No censure can
silence every act of violence
or love. Printed and bound
found on the shelf with other like
tomes. Curled up at home,
fire crackling, sipping on cocoa,
flipping each leaf of worded sage.
Turn the page.

© copyright 2013, Walter J Wojtanik

191 thoughts on “PROMPT #135 – THERE IS NO FRIGATE LIKE A BOOK

  1. This is an older one that I think I’ve posted before, but I can’t remember for sure… 🙂

    A Whole New World

    I open a book, imagination set free,
    Caught up in the spell of another’s fantasy.
    Like some breathtaking scene, the words captivate me,
    Weaving thoughts and illusions of their own decree.
    Fantasy, fairytales, legends or mystery,
    Each in their different way gaining hold over me…
    Til the end comes…then it’s back to reality.

    © Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2012


    O’Banion has a million things
    from Dusenbergs to emerald rings

    whose value’s in the stratosphere;
    he owns nothing that’s worth but mere.

    Most people envy all he has –
    the valuables and all that jazz –

    enticing things to steal. But, look:
    all I want is his little black book.

    copyright 2013, William Preston


    Take good aim:
    the book at him.

    copyright 2013, William Preston


    Miss Miller was a so-so cook
    who did her cooking by the book;

    she cooked nothing with haste or waste
    but cookbooks can’t account for taste.

    copyright 2013, William Preston

  5. Gleaning Eyes

    Consumption of eyes
    Readily gathered tense plot
    Planted in a book

    Gems well-mined, heart-wrenching finds
    Each chapter so wrought

    Hasty words release
    Pages turned quick, bred rich thought
    Fertile fields lay gleaned


    He used to steal with much aplomb and charm;
    could even swipe the birthmark from your arm

    or reach the second story in a flash
    to round up all your jewels and your cash,

    and all the while, you would never know
    this goofy-looking fellow stole the show.

    He was a marvel, brighter than he looked,
    until the day that Max got caught, and booked.

    copyright 2013, William Preston

  7. BOOKS

    If a book had feet it would walk
    And a mouth, oh, yeah, it would talk,
    But lucky for readers,
    It’s just an eye-feeder,
    And no way can a book pitch a squawk.

    I once read a book by Charles Dickens
    About life in the slums of slim pickings,
    How Oliver Twist
    Could hardly exist
    Without stealing and fighting and kicking.

    You can’t tell a book by its cover.
    A calm scene can turn out a “mother.”
    If you’re planning to buy,
    At least you should try
    Reading a page or another.



    He had it all worked out
    He’d tell the Angel of Death
    Please come back some other time

    He still had more books to write
    countless people yet to see
    He wasn’t at all ready

    He had several deadlines
    to meet and time was too short
    He didn’t want to disappoint his agent

    Go find somebody with nothing left to do here
    He said he’d tell that angel a thing or two
    about responsibility and honor and

    When that angel finally knocked
    he put down his pad and pen
    and opened the door

    Outside he saw a long line
    of the newly dead and joined them



    crammed on the shelves
    of my den’s bookcase
    after all these years
    I still keep within eye’s reach

    an old library card
    from childhood
    I took with me
    when we moved away

    a photo of my family
    who once laughed
    with me in celebration
    though most are gone

    a pair of shoelaces
    to remind me
    always be prepared
    life hangs on a thread



    in the empty house
    books on dusty shelves
    recite their poems
    to the walls and closed door
    enunciating in mimicry
    poets long gone to rest

    it is as if those poets
    had merely been sleeping
    and now refreshed
    return to the dais
    to delight with verse
    but no one is here

    only the abandoned books
    the black-and-white photos
    hanging in their frames
    the mustiness
    the emptiness
    a fountain pen uncapped

    into the long night
    the books read themselves
    till they fall to dreaming
    their own words, pretending
    they can run their iambic feet
    through sleep’s cool grasses


  11. My Number Hasn’t Come Up Yet

    “I’m writing a book. I’ve gotten the page numbers done.” ~Steven Wright

    am I?
    I am a story waiting to happen,
    a tale with no denouement…well… not yet


  12. Coded Words

    My fingers poised, I’m ready. Strike a key,
    any key. Because the words are hidden
    in the keys, just waiting for me to start.

    But therein lies my confusion. To start,
    write. But all I hear is this minor key
    and all the rest is muffled and hidden.

    But wait…the word ‘bidden’ rhymes with hidden!
    So, that must be the way to go. To start
    is not a cipher, but rather, the key.

    I now see that the key has always been hidden in the words of a book I must start.


  13. Frigate

    Books are made of dreams and ink
    that challenge how we readers think—
    such weight is laid on hearts and words.

    Imagination’s wings take flight
    and raise us up to such a height,
    words nesting in our minds like birds.

    A character is ours for life.
    We’ve witnessed suffering and strife;
    we redefine what’s right and wrong.

    And stories built of syllables
    become in us vestigial,
    reminders still with us like song.

    How sad the beauty writers see
    is largely lost when forced to be
    a word, a page, a line, a scene.

    Like universes stuffed in socks,
    books nonetheless are building blocks,
    sweet opportunities that knock
    of what is and has been.

    • This impresses me very much. It sounds like the words of an English teacher lamenting the limitations (universes stuffed in socks) of the fundamental tools, yet not diminishing their utility. For me, this is a love poem. I think it’s a splendid piece of work.

    • And stories built of syllables/ become in vestigial,/reminders still with us like a song. I love the rhyming of syllables and vestigial. That stanza has such a strength. For me the entire poem pivots on it. Necely done!

    • Jane, the socks line says so much. All that is common to man is in a good story–without a word about it–but we read it there, we feel it there, because the words invited us into those socks. Loved this.

  14. The Bible

    King James
    New King James
    And many more
    In hundreds of languages
    The most studied
    The most revered
    The most reviled
    The most important
    The most feared
    The most purchased
    The most given away
    The most read
    And the most ignored
    The number one publication in the world
    With 66 books
    In the Old and the New
    A history of the past
    A glimpse into the future
    A testament to the Lord
    A guide for all mankind
    The story of the Messiah
    The way
    The truth
    The life
    The only chance for salvation
    The only Holy book
    The only book we need
    The only path to God
    And eternity
    In Heaven
    The Bible

  15. “To read:”

    To languish ‘tween the sheets
    of succulent longing for prose
    For rich tidings
    For the swiftly churning
    recitals of Cather, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald et al—
    Minstrels of the voicing hearth,
    herringboned letter-upon-letter
    A little pejorative
    A little oration
    A little bit of honey and tea.

  16. It’s All in a Word

    To write a poem about a book,
    and for a different viewpoint to look
    I sought to spell out a good bookish term
    and settled upon the lowly bookworm.

    But still searching for an unlikely way
    to find just what I wanted to say
    the Urban Dictionary might be just where from
    to find voice for ideas I’m trying to share some.

    In my life I’ve seen much of what’s proper and not,
    but NOTHING prepared me for what I now got!
    I won’t go so far as to say that I’m prudish,
    but what I saw there was way more than rud-ish!

    Since your embarrassment I’d like to confine,
    I’ve had more than enough, please, take some of mine.
    But at least ensnared in those dregs of disgrace
    my efforts and searches were not for a waste.

    And for all those lengths I was willing to go
    to bring back a definition so apropos,
    a bookworm (and this is just too sublime)
    is a person on FaceBook spending way too much time!

    Ellen Evans 12.29.13
    write a “book” poem for PB


    I’ve never read a perfect book
    but several have come close;
    I give more than a second look
    to loving works like those.

    I call them “loving,” for they are:
    their authors cared the most
    to lavish time and caring far
    above the casual host,

    for when a writer writes that way,
    she never births a tome;
    instead, she seems to smile and say,
    “Welcome to my home.”

    Those places might be a fantasy
    or garages full of cars
    but in a book that nurtures me
    they’re real as the stars,

    and all of them are worth my while;
    worth multiples of looks.
    No wonder, then, that I can smile
    at less-than-perfect books.

    copyright 2013, William Preston

  18. This is an older one that I don’t think I’ve shared here before.

    Books to Dream On

    Oh, child with stardust in your eyes
    Flipping pages with happy sigh
    Hobnobbing with Hobbits
    Lunching with Pooh
    Tea with Alice, tiny cakes, too.

    Oh, the adventures fair or dire
    From Lilliput to Bilbo’s Shire
    Neverland, Narnia
    Watership Down
    Quick turn the page, tales there abound.

    Oh, child, there’s nothing like a book
    A soft chair and a cozy nook.
    Fairy tales, fantasies
    Paper and ink
    Makes you wonder, imagine, think.

  19. Marie, loved yours. It would go nicely in a Christian magazine.

    My Dream

    I used to dream of rows of books.
    I loved libraries’ smells and looks.
    When I was young, I’d plot and scheme.
    Of rows of books, I used to dream.

    To own a book, oh, such a treat!
    A gift like that could not be beat.
    You’d catch me reading in a nook.
    Oh, such a treat, to own a book!

    As years passed, my collection grew.
    My bookish dream was coming true.
    I needed space as they amassed.
    My collection grew, as years passed.

    My dream approached, when my kids moved.
    For shelves of books I had more room.
    But other guests, the place encroached.
    When my kids moved, my dream approached.

    One Christmas day, I got a gift.
    It’s very light, easy to lift.
    Alas, my dream, it went away!
    I got a gift one Christmas day.

    It could be worse, do not be sad.
    The Kindle’s made me very glad,
    Because my dream fits in my purse!
    Don’t be sad, it could be worse.

    • Funny thing, how they can be so absorbing. One of the best reads I ever experienced was a manual on fixing Chevys.

  20. Loved these blooms. Great takes from several angles.
    Here’s one I pulled up from about two or three years ago, and reworked. RJ’s poem above reminded me of it…
    On Making a Book

    The pages first
    the covers last;
    that’s how they’re made.
    I see.

    Paper, glue, string
    for even paged signatures
    hardboard and fabric for covers,
    and a little book
    comes to be.

    But wordless
    it is not a
    Can’t be.
    Books live, breathe in,
    Books tell,

    They wait like whispers
    on quiet shelves,
    to catch a passing ear.

    Or shout…
    like pamphlets
    of patriots or rebels
    arousing those who sleep.
    Books engage
    or books enrage.

    I cannot let
    this book do less.

    The pages must
    not stay blank or silent
    but be made
    to speak
    or scream.

    Thoughts must flow
    from leaf to leaf
    like rivers
    and notions move like streams.

    Revelations must
    crash like waves
    upon the shore
    of someone’s mind.

    A jaw must drop.
    A brow must wrinkle.
    A paragraph must end
    not with a period but
    with a rolling tear
    or the ellipsis of a sigh.

    A page must be a
    vessel for a dream
    to quench parched souls,
    a cloud of thoughts that fall
    up, inward,
    like gentle, but intent
    cool rain.

    must line up,
    fingertips on the edge
    of the next turn
    relay runners waiting
    for the eyes
    and mind.

    So I
    or someone,
    write this book.

    I cannot let
    good covers
    go to waste

    or let
    blank pages
    wait empty
    lie quiet
    or die clean.

    © Damon Dean, 2013

  21. Pingback: Reading Clementine | Metaphors and Smiles

  22. Reading Clementine
    She often reads with her fingers first,
    following each line
    feeling every pore-
    she massages a thumb print
    and extends an open hand
    to place perfection in her palm
    so that she may decipher its secrets;
    messages encoded from mother,
    sap spilled stories
    lullabies given to it and its sisters;
    wooed into being by sensuous blooms.
    She recites them slowly
    savoring its surface,
    imagining segments within
    tales that have yet to unfold.
    Within this golden globe-
    this gemmy orb
    held in the hollow of her hand
    is the story of this one orange
    and all of their stories
    are encapsulated in this single fruit;
    and suspended-
    breath of citrus…
    she reads deeply
    of this clementine.
    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

  23. Walt, yes, words blend…books blend. The experience is cumulative. Loved your offering and the idea that censure is crippled as long as there is love and adventure.
    William, the little things indeed…the unworded but well-described understood things we read there between the parading images.
    Marie, yes and yes…I am reading again Lee Stroebel’s “The Case for Christ.” Your offering sums up his view on the weight and power of the Word. Well said.

  24. First Friends

    Ramona Quimby, Beezus
    Black Beauty, Nancy Drew.
    Trixie Belden, Pippi,
    Winnie the Pooh,
    and Margaret (are you there, God?),

    Encyclopedia Brown, Harriet the Spy,
    Madeline and Charlotte, Scout and Pony Boy.

    Misty of Chincoteague, Aslan and Lucy.
    Laura Ingalls, Fudge and Peter, Ralph the Mouse
    Amelia Bedelia, Shelia the Great…and that guy
    who made Freckle Juice-y.

    We moved a lot, but these friends always came along,
    loyal from the start…packed carefully in boxes,
    tucked deep within my heart.


  25. Pingback: First Friends | Whimsygizmo's Blog

  26. I hardly have the nerve to post mine after such a plethora of great writing (yesterday was very busy)

    A BOOK

    There is no refuge like a book
    (to paraphrase Emily Dickinson)
    or nowadays. like a Kindle
    to isolate us in another world,
    cut off from those around us;
    in a world of adventure, history,
    romance or poetry
    or even a bloodthirsty mystery.

    You are never alone with a book
    A wait in a queue? No problem,
    I’ll renew acquaintance
    with Shakespeare’s sonnets on my Kindle,
    or catch up with Richard Hannay.
    Jane Eyre may entrance me
    or Emma make me cross.
    A portable library in my handbag
    is nearly as good as the shelves back home.
    You’re never bored with a good book.

  27. She Slides Between Covers of Books

    But mostly she reads to escape.
    She slips into hot summer
    until long shades of trees hand her
    back to the light indoors, and she
    slides back between covers of books,
    silk sheets for her wandering dreams.

    But mostly she reads to escape.
    She collects gold sticky stars, one a day,
    for each book she completes, and then
    back to the library where the spines
    of books beg her attention as she slides
    on the length of a long wooden bench.

    But mostly she reads to escape
    the fighting, the crashing, the gnashing
    of words between teeth, the clenching
    of fists, the crying, and shouting,
    and she dives between pages of deafening
    words because she mostly reads to escape.

  28. Pingback: She Slides Between Covers of Books | The Chalk Hills Journal


    My life is a book
    of stories and verse,
    a place where I look,
    for better or worse,
    to cherish and scorn
    these tales I’ve amassed
    on pages well-worn
    from trips to the past.
    The stories untold
    hide on a blank page
    with secrets they hold
    not yet to engage,
    but waiting until
    the chapter is born
    and the keyboard quill
    sees a rose or thorn.
    With life as the seed
    that blossoms to text,
    I can’t wait to read
    where this book goes next.

    © Susan Schoeffield

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!

  30. I wrote this for our local library contest. Princeton Public Library bought the old Post Office and restored it to a lovely useful place.

    J’aime ma Bibliothèque – PPL

    Salvaged beauty, saved from ruin,
    Though your form is grand to behold,
    You are more than mortar and stone,
    More than plaster and wooden shelves,
    Or architectural detail
    When weighed on a supernal scale.

    You are the portal to places
    I ne’er may see but in my thoughts
    That before my awed eyes emerge
    Like insubstantial holograms
    Of Pip or Toad or Smaug or gnome
    Come to life from a simple tome.

    You are the doorway that beckons
    Come in, discover and enjoy
    Signings, book clubs, artists’ displays,
    Writers’ groups and poetry slams,
    Blind date with books and movies, too
    Stories for tots, there’s lots to do.

    No longer will I deign to hear
    The sad refrain ‘I’m bored to tears’
    From child or teen or daft adult.
    I will not tolerate it for
    There’s so many activities
    At PPL and all for free.

    debi swim 1/13

  31. Pingback: To Be Continued | Words With Sooze

  32. Anything but Books

    she told them when they asked
    for her wish list
    My shelves are double stacked,
    my nightstand’s full
    I can’t get through the ones
    I own, the ones on loan
    from friends who know me best.

    and so they bought her
    yoga pants, a new phone case,
    new coffee cups,
    a do-it-yourself pedicure kit,
    but no books.

    Really? she thought.
    No books?
    Her disappointment
    tasted like ink
    and smelled like paper.


    When autumn gilds the land with gold
    and rust, and all is growing old
    and dry, and cool and sober days
    return the world to quiet ways,

    I think again on tales retold
    when autumn gilds the land with gold:
    of winter, when the new-blown snow
    obscures the streamlet far below;

    of springtime, and of summer too,
    when all is green, married to blue.
    When autumn gilds the land with gold,
    the seasons seem like time paroled.

    This story feels so deep and whole:
    this land is ever in my soul
    and joy is mine, though I grow old,
    when autumn gilds the land with gold.

    copyright 2013, William Preston


    Melinda’s a cute little cookie;
    as a shortstop, she’s just a raw rookie.
    With her innocent face
    and curvaceous grace,
    who’d have guessed that she’s also a bookie?

    copyright 2013, William Preston

  35. Adrift in Another Life

    Take me out of my reality.
    Set me down in another’s.
    I will ache with their pains,
    empathize with their fears,
    and foibles, smile with
    their happiness. My viewpoint
    of their story will be the only
    one that matters. Upon re-reading,
    perhaps I will discover snippets missed
    the first time around. If I choose,
    I can linger in their world, trying
    it on, seeing if it fits.

  36. It’s a new year so I am trying something new. Here’s my attempt at a haibun. (For any haibun pros out there, forgive me if I mess this up)


    I never finished reading Black Beauty to you. The big heart in your little girl body couldn’t take the cruelty. You wiped tears with the back of your hand and begged me to stop. I placed the bookmark in between the pages. Maybe you’ll decide to return to the story one day.

    sweet 16
    wishing I could hit
    the pause button

  37. Pingback: A Page In Time | echoes from the silence

    (a shadorma)

    Blank pages
    staring back at me
    wanting to
    reveal their
    greatest mysteries, waiting
    to be discovered.

    P. Wanken

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