'Ave you 'eard of the Tommy Knockers
In the deep dark mines of the west
Which Cornish miners 'ear?
And 'tis no laughin' jest,
For I'm a Cornish miner,
An' I'll tell you of it today,
Of the "knock-knock-knock" of a tiny pick,
As we work in the rock and clay.
When I started working here in 1996 B.G. (Before Google), questions about poetry were frequently asked in what was then called the General Reference and Nonfiction Department. More often than not, patrons were older people who had memorized poems in their youth and wanted to verify the texts that they recalled. This pedagogic practice has gone out of fashion, but anyone of a certain age will smile at the recollection of rhymes and meters mastered long ago. I can still recite poems by Jean de La Fontaine that I learned by heart in eighth grade in 1968.
The weather outside right now isn't exactly inviting--first it rains, then it snows, then it rains again. It's a good day to be inside. But snow or no snow, we all know winter is finished, and all this moisture means the hillsides are about to be covered with wildflowers. Most Coloradans recognize famous one like the Rocky Mountain Columbine, but what about the lesser-known wildflowers? Have you met the Blue Toadflax? How about the Curvepod Fumewort? Little Pink Elephants? I haven't, I'm afraid, but I've decided this is the year I will.
Growing up in the northeast, I had always assumed albeit naively that slavery only existed in the southern states. Years later, I was looking at statistics pertaining to the U.S. slavery population prior to the Civil War on the U.S. Census website and was I surprised. Much to my dismay it existed everywhere even in my hometown, the city of New York. How shocking that was.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the fearsome basilisk emerged from its lair and slithered through the walls of Hogwarts. One look at its reflection left people petrified. Here at the Central Library, I'm happy to say we have no basilisks. But we do have creatures in our walls, and they were petrified--literally turned to stone--long ago.