Their shelves have always held mys­tery. Resist the urge to touch —
cloth and paper and paint. I am close enough to breathe in Catullus
and all his earthly urges, now sealed and almost eru­dite;
So many spines here, leather and lust, dirt and dis­tress.

From Alex­an­dria to al-Qarawiyyin, from papyrus to pixels —
Where know­ledge is gathered, the people draw power.

The lib­rarian knows the sigils and secrets,
Knows the liturgy and the loc­a­tions
Reveals the way and the wonder

In Toledo, the ancient stones whisper to me of scribes,
And ink smudges, of late nights and lovers in the arcades.

The church con­jures monks and mar­ginalia,
While Borges and Calvino and Eco huddle
Whis­pering to each other in a corner

Every lib­rary, it seems, hides a portal to another,
Where you can lose your­self, trans­ported through time,
From scrolls to chained boards to the quiet hum of screens
Echoes of volumes and his­tory, of algebra and philo­sophy,
Hypatia and Fatima El-Fihriya, scholars and revolu­tion­aries.
It is no sur­prise that they demand silence like other holy shrines.