Poems of the Week

Pelf on the Shelf

by Steven Kent

“Do You Have ‘Bookshelf Wealth’? A TikTok Home Décor Trend Has Irked Some Bibliophiles”
The New York Times

My look is lived-in, always understated:
A vase, a painting, placed with utmost care.
The books, of course, have all been hand-curated,
With no pulp fiction titles anywhere.

There’s Huck Finn, Moby Dick (about a sailor),
The works of Shakespeare, Steinbeck for my friends,
And also Roth and Updike, Irving, Mailer,
Plus Zadie Smith to show I’m up on trends.

A paperback looks cheap, in my opinion;
Collector sets add class here to my shelf,
Projecting airs of scholarly dominion
(Though I flunked out of English Lit myself).

I choose them by the lovely leather binding;
I’m keenly conscious of each luscious hue
Which color-matches. I don’t need reminding
That books are there to read, you pedant, you!