Season of Crows

a childhood in India, 1956-1972

The Librarian


I borrowed The Great Gatsby
From my own Library
Where I work
Knowing that I won’t read more
Than a few pages at night
Before I sleep exhausted

Why did I borrow this book?
Perhaps for its cover showing
A photograph in sepia of lovers
In untroubled bliss
Or so it seems
And so it may as well seem
As I somehow know
It will not get read
So long as my eye watches the clock
Tick away the hours of
My exhausted heart
While I work my life away
At my desk


Author: Arjun_L_Sen

Born in India in 1956. Grew up in London, Calcutta (Kolkata) and Delhi. Studied history at university in Delhi and completed a sub-doctoral research degree in Social Anthropology at Oxford University. Interested in creative writing, art and animal rights. Art website at Has lived in Spain since 2003.

4 thoughts on “The Librarian

  1. I have read this now a few times and it really rouses my curiosity. But it wasn't until the last reading that I noticed the title, and I feel like it gives the poem a new layer of meaning.

  2. It's a kind of frustration poem, I guess. I spend a lot of my time managing kids, cataloguing books, fulfilling management requirements, giving out information, preparing lists, sometimes doing extended corporate research for the owners of the school, giving presentations on how to use the library, Theory of Knowledge presentations to 16-18 year olds on their pre-university courses, and all kinds of other stuff. Good readers come in telling me about the books they've read. But we come home tired and I don't always have the energy to read as much as I should. I remember when I was younger how much I used to read – but that was before I had a mortgage and a full-time job! So i reflect on the irony that the Librarian doesn't read; he just passes the stuff on!

  3. For sure, I get that. It's funny, when I was a kid I wanted to be a librarian. Either that or a postman. I think I like the idea of a prevailing order. On the other hand, it would be like cleaning. Just when you get it all done, you have to do it all over again. There is a Robert Frost poem with a line about this "It’s rest I want — there, I have said it out – ……….from doingThings over and over that just won’t stay done "But I am digressing, and I guess I can rest when I am dead. It's a bummer you don't have to time read the books. Because not only would that be enriching, relaxing, and fun, it would be something that stays done.

  4. Frost – what a poet! Just totally brilliant. He's a guy who says a thing – and you read that and you go – there is no better way to put it. Straight to the point and to the heart. Actually I do read a bit, mostly a few minutes snatched here and thee, like a few minutes before lights out or on the terrace in an evening before the light goes out. But sustained reading? Actually, I did do this recently. When I went to visit my mother in July, when I went to India to deal with my mentally-deranged mother, I took a 1000-page book called 'Shantaram' by Gregroy David Roberts. Roberts, a convicted armed robber from New Zealand, (but he got convicted in Australia), broke out of jail and escaped to Bombay (now Mumbai) where he 'disappeared' into the bowels of the Bombay slums back in 1985. Unlike most armed robbers (I guess?), Roberts had a college education and one helluva talent for writing. I didn't think I'd be able to get through a 200-page book any more let alone a 1000-page book. I read the whole damn thing! What a book!

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