March 2020

Back to Issue 7

At the Great Reading Room, State Library of Victoria

By Gershon Maller

It was pleasant listening to the vast structure 

of the dome, an absent orchestra tuning 

geometric space, as echoes of insouciant

squeak of library chair boomed fortissimo 

aural colours arriving in Shostakovich phrases 

like wild hooves heard below ebony lid

of galloping Steinway; yet, he desired

more than quietude, as if, poised over 

book, preying on each line, he was 

a mantis mounted on glass, read close 

from above through cupula lens 

by the great eye of the absent reader 

heard in vaulted sublime; turning 

each page, he repeats each word he hears.