Jerome Betts


Change Between The Pages

The bookmark, aid in study sessions
First mentioned in St. A’s Confessions,
Helped vellum-scribing monks save time
In work that followed Nones or Prime.

A numbered sliding disc would show
The column and the rightful row.
Flowers too were used, and often straws
From underfoot on abbey floors.

When manuscripts were in eclipse
The reader turned to paper slips
Or lengths of ribbon in the world
In which Jane Austen’s wit unfurled.

Then came the advertising age
When chromo-litho was the rage;
Soap-sellers’ colorful designs
Would indicate your last-viewed lines.

So, nowadays, ephemerists
Spend cash and time to swell their lists
With what survives, and vie to gain
Gems like “The Months” by Walter Crane.

The concept haunts the cybersphere,
But, digitized, does not endear.
It lacks a certain vital spark—
You can’t collect a virtual mark.

Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England, where he edits the quarterly Lighten Up Online. His verse has appeared in a variety of British magazines and in several anthologies, as well as UK, European, and North American web publications such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Angle, Better Than Starbucks, Light, The Asses of Parnassus, The New Verse News, Parody, Per Contra, The Rotary Dial, and Snakeskin.