Anna Robinson was born and lives in London. Her first collection The Finders of London (Enitharmon Press) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Poetry Centre Prize (2011). Into The Woods was published in 2014 (Enitharmon Press). She has taught at the University of East London, The Poetry School, HMP Brixton, as well as in schools, libraries and public record offices. Anna has also been (and no doubt will be again one day) a librarian. She is currently the chair of the Friends of Waterloo Library. www.annarobinsonpoetry.co.uk
From The Night Library
In the beautiful library, the beautiful librarian
stretches his long legs as he rises from his desk.
The desk is a dark oak whose age is shown
by rings and the marks of three hundred years
of writing with a fine pencil on hand-made paper.
He moves his body to the open shuttered
window that overlooks the square.
We are somewhere in Italy. This is unclassified.
The square is empty. The people have all gone home.
The stars of the Bear hang in the night sky.
His books are bound in cream, the shelves solid
like his desk – and each has its subject marked
in italic, hand-painted on an oval
plaque above. The beautiful librarian is tired.
He closes the windows and shutters and goes to his bed
in the alcove. As he sleeps, the books open.
It’s now I learn that his name is Francisco.
Anonymous books are to be entered under the
name of the author whenever it is known.
Question the publisher, and if they refuse to tell
you, follow them and see who they meet and who
they drink with. Failing that – display the book
and see who comes and stands and stares longest
at the title or see who does not come and who
does not look at all. Failing that – see what you
learn when you sleep.