The Library Lady


Quiet! Hissed the library lady

To whisper in here is a sin

There are diligent scholars trying to read

We have rules about silence you'd do well to heed

And they can't read a word

If echoing round can be heard;

The cacophonous drop of a pin

I explained to the library lady

With a friendly, disarming grin 

That I'd come to work here, so she'd nothing to fear

But her face filled with fury, she went red round the ears

There was a still, deathly hush

 I could just hear, behind us

The cacophonous drop of a pin

Now see here! Said the library lady

When the borrowers dare to come in

You must wear something suitable

Be aloof and inscrutable

Be icily polite, and loftily nice

Tell them only sepulchral quiet will suffice

In our silence profound

There would echoing sound;

The cacophonous drop of a pin

But what if, said I to the fierce library lady

A small child should chance to pop in

And she were to look

And to find a nice book

That had pictures by Quentin Blake in

And if she got spitzwiggled

When she saw them and giggled

Then you’d beg her to stop

And you’d long for the drop

Of a slightly cacophonous pin.

© nigel hallworth 2021