The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm
(Ms. West’s favorite poem about reading)
The house was quiet and the world was calm
The reader became the book; and summer night
Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,
Wanted to lean,
Wanted, much most, to be the scholar
To whom the book is true,
To whom the summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.
The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.
And the world was calm.