The Bricklayer Who Laid Books by Gareth Culshaw

in Poetry/Spotlight

I knew a bloke who was a bricklayer,

but rumour has it he was also a librarian.

When he built a wall he stood the bricks

on edge. Put bookmarks between the joints

and the bricks were given words on their spines.

He once built a house on top of a hill.

When the wind came the house fell

back as the bricks were laid upright.

The owners propped it back up with books

left behind by the bricklayer. The house was pulled

forward by steel cables via a crane,

then they were pegged down like tent lines.

The bricklayer lost his trade when the library

asked for a wall to be built between two rooms.

When he finished they checked his work

and found he had stacked books

from floor to ceiling. He said he ran out

of bricks so used them instead.

He retired early, ran a bookshop in the local

market. Stall holders would see him

with his spirit level during the day levelling

out his stock. Sometimes he was seen mixing

mortar behind his till, slapping it between

books he wanted to sell two-for-one.



Gareth Culshaw lives in Wales. He has two poetry collections by FutureCycle, The Miner & A Bard’s View. He is a current student at Manchester Met. He has been published in various places across the UK & USA. You can find him at Twitter @culshawpoetry1 or His biggest critic is the house dog, Lana. 

Jude Cowan Montague is an artist and broadcaster. She produces 'The News Agents' for Resonance FM, a weekly show experimenting with international story and the arts. She worked at Reuters Television News for many years as an archivist and this has informed her poetry and some of her art. She's an award winning printmaker and a composer. Her graphic memoir 'Love on the Isle of Dogs' is available from Central Books.

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