Right after family and friends, the short list of things I love most in day-to-day life includes books. The love of books grabbed me as a little girl and I’ve been enmeshed in its web ever since. I unashamedly admit I’m a bibliophile and although I love the ease of my Kindle, I’ll never get rid of my books. Library levies are the only tax increases for which I’ll vote. I love the smell of a new book and browsing in a used bookstore is a joy that never diminishes.

So to honor the love I have for books, my inner muse rolled out a poem in the tradition of the poems of Rudyard Kipling, Dr. Seuss, Ogden Nash, and others (although I’m not comparing my humble offering to any of theirs), poems you might find in the old Childcraft books: the rhyming poem that rolls along, pulls you in, and flows trippingly from the tongue if read aloud (please try it). I hope I’ve achieved a little of that magic this week and perhaps you and your inner child, will enjoy this paean to books.

I’ve even manged to make it come in at exactly 100 words.

Copyright Claire Fuller

Copyright Claire Fuller


Under Cover

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”
May or may not be true
But you’ll never discover the story
‘Til you read it through and through.

A book will deliver you places
You can’t ordinarily go
More reliably than the Post Office can
Through the rain and sleet and snow.

It can make you think or make you cry
Turn your world upside down
It holds the power to mesmerize
Without making the slightest sound.

You’ll discover best friends and enemies
The truth and make-believe
And the most wonderful book of all of them
Is one you hate to leave.


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  1. Like all poems that are swell,
    you’ve covered your subject from cover-to-cover… well.


  2. Excellent poem, loved it!

  3. Beautiful poem. The last line reflects how I feel about Lord of the Rings; it’s too short.

  4. Sandra says:

    Your feeling for books comes glowing through that verse… nicely done Janet.

  5. Beautiful words Janet and so true they are like friends that we hate to close at the end of a day and putting them back in the library shoot is unbearable (still)

  6. tedstrutz says:

    Your second phrase is one of the coolest things I have read in some time, Janet. Nice 100, Ms Childcraft…

  7. Penny L Howe says:

    This is just the perfect poem, janet, for a book lover (like me)! Well written and true too! And a special thanks your reminder re: Georgette Heyer. Each time I take a writing break now, I pick up my kindle and let myself fall into the world of her words. I am greatly enjoying “Grand Sophy” once again, laughing out loud ever now and then! Again, my thanks, Penny 🙂

    • You don’t know how truly it’s my pleasure that you’re enjoying GH once again. “The Grand Sophy” is on of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read. May have to dip back into it myself now that I’m thinking about it again. I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed out loud as many times reading any book, even those written specifically as humor.

      Also pleased you enjoyed my poem in praise of some of my best friends who aren’t alive–books.


  8. Joe Owens says:

    Janet, this is a great poem. I find myself loving each book I read to the end and cannot ever say i regretted the time. Books capture our heart and mind. I love getting into a book in a way that causes me to forget I am reading fiction.

    • I’m happy you like the poem, Joe. I especially enjoy finding a series I like and look forward to each new book with the eager anticipation of meeting an old friend.


  9. kdillmanjones says:

    Oh, you captured this feeling so well, of not being able to (or wanting to) escape a beloved book. I felt these very lines when I started a new Anne Enright book this week. It’s like falling in love.

    • It is, although a promiscuous love, where we fall in love, move on, come back, fall in love again, etc., etc. ad infinitum. I’m excited that the poem caught you and made you feel those feelings again.


  10. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Janet,

    I hated to leave your poem.



  11. Great poetry, and certainly the end is what I like the most (as it should be in poetry). Yes the best books is those that you hate leave.

    • From a poet, the compliment is doubly appreciated. There are many books I hate to leave even after multiple readings (and I have many books I’ve read multiple times and plan to read many more.)


  12. vbholmes says:

    I think you’ve found a new genre, Janet–well done (I particularly like your first four lines–covers can be so misleading).

    • Thanks, vb. Glad you enjoyed it. I’m annoyed because I just published a post that was meant to go out tomorrow morning by hitting “publish” instead of “preview”. I did that one other time many months ago and it’s so annoying! At least it was done. 🙂

      Glad you liked the poem and covers that aren’t really connected to the book or are deceptive are SO annoying!


  13. Honie Briggs says:

    Excellent! I love it, Janet. I just love it.

  14. kz says:

    lovely poem… and i’m happy to say that i know how this feels ^^

  15. Carrie says:

    Brilliant 🙂 And so true. Anyone who says they hate reading just hasn’t read a good book yet 🙂

  16. Nice, lilting cadence. Good job! 🙂

  17. This, made me feel like I was at my mom;s knee once more. You captured her love of books and how she worked to instill that excitement and love in me. Nicely done.

  18. julespaige says:

    A+! I agree. I remember when the book Sybil came out in paper back. Over 800 pages I think. I read it in two days, because I could not put it down.

  19. elappleby says:

    Wonderful and how true. Sometimes closing a book feels like saying goodbye to old friends – I miss them for days!

    • My feelings exactly! And as I’ve mentioned before, if the author dies, those friends live only in memory, with no chance of renewed life (unless the author’s very famous and someone takes over his/her series.)


  20. Dear Janet,
    Clever rhyme. I always feel a little twinge when I finish a book because it means I’m saying farewell to friends.

  21. Shreyank says:

    u did weave a piece of magic here ! 🙂 enjoyed it

  22. claireful says:

    Spot on!

  23. Sarah Ann says:

    I’m sorry you were restricted to 100 words – I want more poem! And those last two lines are so true.

  24. I loved this, Janet. It’s so true. A good book you don’t want to put down is priceless!

  25. oh my goodness! That was 100 words! I am inspired! Beautiful! 🙂

  26. wmqcolby says:

    You know, that’s sure a nice poem. Really. It should be hanging in the library as part of their promotional campaign or something. Worth the submitting. I hung out a LOT in the library as a kid.

  27. camgal says:

    Absolutely lovely 🙂 the last two lines were spot on and in just 100 words wow.

    • With poetry like this, rather than free verse, it can be difficult to get 100 words and still keep the rhythm and rhyme. This just sort of poured itself out and then took a bit of revision. But it was lots of fun and I’m happy you enjoyed it.


  28. nightlake says:

    lovely..so true.. you have written that for all of us. enjoyed the poetry style

  29. rgayer55 says:

    I did read it out loud, and it rolls beautifully off the tongue. This should be mandatory reading in all schools, public and private. Outstanding!

  30. Very sweet and excellently flowing poem, although I didn’t hear anything in there about half-open books helping your social life …

    • Glad it passes the Perry test. I tried to comment on your post last night but my iPad wouldn’t allow me to finish filling out the form, so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow!!


  31. Jan Brown says:

    Oh yes, so many books that I just can’t wait to get through–then I am so sorry that it’s finished!

  32. Loved your “Ode to Books” Janet. Hated to see it end.

  33. Debra Kristi says:

    Your love for books is so beautifully versed. It shines through in such a beautiful way. It’s always a joy to visit your blog.

  34. unspywriter says:

    Wonderful! How well you’ve captured just how we feel about books.

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/reincarnation/

  35. t says:

    Beautifully described Janet! And what is life worth, if not for the discovery?

  36. rich says:

    that was fun and very seussian. in the 7th line, “reliably” sounds a little awkward. think about “reliable” instead, just flows more easily to me. grammatically, you can do either one.

    now, if you really want to refine and make this poem “perfect,” then start to adjust each alternating line to a consistent number of syllables. it’s not necessary of course, but it can be fun too.

    • I may think about making the poem “perfect” when I have a bit more time, Rich. But as far as “reliably” or “reliable”, only the former will work grammatically. If you take out the extra words, so that you have “A book will deliver you places more reliably than the Post Office can”, I think you’ll see that “…will deliver you places more reliable than the PO…” just won’t work. If the sentence was constructed differently and the line was “More reliable than the Post Office is”, it might work.

      I always appreciate your careful reading and comments and these days, your time, as I know you’re busily writing away.


  37. Trudy says:

    I can’t write ’em, but I like reading ’em. Nice poem!

  38. Such beautiful verse. It’s so well organized and exactly 100 words! – amazing.

  39. Anne Orchard says:

    Oh that moment when you realise that you shouldn’t have indulged yourself by reading that book so fast because now you are lost without it! I have that often. This is just the kind of poem I love Janet, keeps on moving and makes perfect sense all the way!

    • Anne, I suffer from the same problem–wanting to read that new book as slowly as possible but getting sucked into it and reading faster and faster and not wanting to put it down…and suddenly I’m finished with it and left wanting more. If I’m lucky, it’s part of a series and will be continued, even if not for another year. 🙂


  40. neenslewy says:

    Great writing – books can give us so much, they save me when I have to escape the world for a bit!

  41. Tom Poet says:

    Hey Janet,
    Well I finally made it here… I love when you write poetry. The last line seals the deal. I encourage you to write more of it because you are rather good at it. I love the paper version of books but I must say the Kindle has it’s advantages. When it comes to writing poetry I like to write them out by hand and the handwritten ones normally turn out to be the best ones. Great job Janet!


    • Thanks for dropping by on this sunny Saturday morning, Tom. I’m happy you liked the poem and thanks for the encouragement to do so more. Sometimes I write on my laptop because it’s there, I can type faster than I can write and it’s easy to edit. But this one, like a baby in a hurry, insisted on being born RIGHT NOW, so I grabbed my notebook and got to it. Along with books, I love paper, so writing on paper is something I enjoy. And I plan to have both books and my Kindle, utilizing each to the fullest.

      Have a great weekend,


  42. pamtanzey says:

    That was wonderful!

  43. I love bouncy poems that make me smile!

    Just looking at full bookshelves makes me happy – there they sit, dozens and hundreds of different worlds waiting patiently for me to visit – first time or five hundredth time – and explore. 😀 . 😀 . 😀 .

  44. rich says:

    here’s why i said “reliable” can work also:

    A book will deliver you places
    You can’t ordinarily go
    More reliably than the Post Office can

    because poetic structure is so loose, there is an understood pause after “go.” that pause can be translated into a period or a comma. again, loose, but still a break. therefore, you can consider “more reliable/reliably than the post office” as a new sentence or descriptive phrase. so i can say that a book is more reliable than the post office. however, i said that without focusing on the “can” that follow post office. that forces a continuance with the previous line and sort of blurs that implied break after “go.” and thus forcing “reliably.”

    so, my version could have gone like this:

    “a book will deliver you places you can’t ordinarily go. (A book is) More reliable than the post office.”

    however, as i corrected myself with “can,” it should then go as you had it:

    “A book will deliver you places you can’t ordinarily go more reliably than the post office can.”

    however, however, grammatically there is no need for “can.” you can say that sentence without it and you won’t lose anything. maybe you could add another, more important word somewhere else. that is part of the work that i do when trying to trim things down to 100 words. i would look for ways to rephrase things with fewer words or remove words that were unnecessary. however, that certainly takes a lot of time that not everyone has available.

  45. Mystikel says:

    The poem was fun and expressed sentiments shared by all the Fictioneers. I did want to point out that it says you “manged” to keep it to 100 words.

    I wanted to like it but for some reason my like button will not load. I therefore have a lot of commenting to do.

  46. Mystikel says:

    Fun and sentiments that will definitely be shared by all the Fictioneers. I did notice that it said you “manged” to keep it under 100 words.

    I would have liked it but fr some reason my like button is not loading. Please consider yourself “liked”!

  47. Mystikel says:

    Lol sorry. I didn’t realize the first had gone through. Darn iPad 🙂

    • Yes, Apple has its own little ways, which are often times annoying. 🙂 Glad you liked it. I managed to get exactly 100 words after some paring, but felt I could have had a few more verses. I liked the end product, though.


  48. sandraconner says:

    This is a lovely poem, Janet. Very well done.

    By the way, I notified Rochelle that the link connection will not take any more posts. It says the site is closed. It is the same with the link from your page. Not sure what the problem is, but thought you’d want to know. I posted my link in a comment on Rochelle’s page, but since only 78 people have posted successfully, there are probably several who can’t get in for whatever the reason.

    • Good morning, Sandra. Glad you liked the poem. Rochelle closes the story page at some point before the next prompt goes up. That’s why you can’t post there any more. I’m on the road (a lot) over the next days, but I’ll get to your site to read your story.


      • sandraconner says:

        Yes, it used to be open until the next Thursday, but I didn’t see any post saying it had changed, so I thought something was wrong. But I got a note from her this morning saying she had changed the closing time to Tuesday afternoon.

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