the other day someone asked me for the poetry of A.A. Milne. I was already helping someone but all I was doing was looking for the definition of a supposed Scottish word recollected from memory: that fact that none of the large Chambers, the shorter Oxford or the enormous google had heard of the word had not diminished my customers enthusiasm one jot (you get a lot of days like this and it does add to the fun) meant that another customer was like a lifeline.
I take new customer to children's, her eyebrows raise- I show her 'and now we are six' they positively arch. she has just seen a film- in it was a poem but an adult poem, old customer now wants to try a different spelling of Scottish word- I have to go back, calling saber over to help with the film/poem enquiry I once again open the Chambers dictionary.
[I'm temporarily taking over the story here - saber]
About 5 minutes later, I work out that it's a poem by e.e. cummings called- "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in" -by googling various permutations. I'm feeling really quite pleased with myself. We have several editions of e.e. cumming's poetry. I show them to the customer. My favourite edition is the Complete Poems, 1904-1962 which is over a thousand pages. The customer likes the look of it as well and thinks that it would be a great Valentine's present. I'm thinking fantastic, we've sold a £35 poetry book to someone who will really appreciate it. I look up the poem in the index, go to page 766.
It's not there.
Some numpty has ripped out that page.
It doesn't take that much effort to google anything nowadays and to print it out. It's just plain vandalism.
Anyway, the customer bought a paperback edition of cummings' poetry.
[back to Julian]
so there you go- they could have asked us, we probably would have printed one poem from google for them- but no.
Anyway on the off chance anyone reading this feels similarly inclined and just because it provides a good excuse to print some e.e. cummings here's the poem
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
(re copyright- I guess google could not complain and I hope Faber realise that this whole blog is just a thinly veiled advert to demonstrate that we are the type of bookshop that stocks £35 hardback poetry books)