This book is fire, is tablets of clay, magical marks

scorched hot in desert sun, in ovens of book.

This book lights its own flame, is warmth, solace;

brighter than engine’s spark; than furnaces.

No lakes, no cooling towers can put out this book,

held in a place of elsewhere, in this boy’s burning hands,


not even the lily cool of this child,

who cleaves pages, butterflies words.

Book makes her; she makes book, glides forward

like a fish finds current, on her silver spine

all that flowed from the writer as writing began.

She bathes in white book. Sometimes,


poised on the diving board of book,

her toes placed perfect on a ledge of blue

she wakes in a place of elsewhere, becomes this child

on the edge of flight. At any moment may

take to air, words rising, dipping, swirling,

scissor-tailing sky, againnew, newagain.


Imagine we bring these children home,

earthing foxes snuggling, safe to a cave

no wolf can ever blow down, opening to grand cavern,

thick walls of book - straight-backed, right-angled, always.

Imagine more homes, opening their doors

to children who grow, remain children, know book.


Commissioned by President CILIP