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The Journeyman Bookbinder

Just a Journeyman Binder of Books

Working from town to town

A craftsman old, of an ancient guild

With graying hair and wrinkled frown.

 

He binds the books in leather and cloth,

Tools them in letters of gold

Some printed thoughts that come to naught,

Others of priceless mould.

 

Once in a while he’ll glance inside

And note what lies within

Gleaning a little from such aside

Of wisdom, knowledge, and sin.

 

Sage and philosopher, braggart and knave

Spill out their thoughts in a wordy pool,

The Journeyman binder sees them all

And absorbs a little from saint and fool.

 

He compares their words with what he’s seen

Of mountain, plain and seaport’s view,

The way his fellow men behave

In the marts of trade and home life too.

 

He takes his tools and hits the road

For another job — more books to bind,

Seldom knowing when night comes on

What resting place his head will find.

 

Just a Journeyman Binder of Books

As all in the trade may see,

If we could know why he wanders so

His life a book would be.

 

By Eric Widdas, International Brotherhood of Bookbinders Local No. 11, Miami, Florida.

Published in The International Bookbinder, Volume XLVI, No. 3

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