I went to the Sanibel Bookshop today.
It’s a typical indie bookshop in an up-scale beach town: displays of hard-bound best-sellers, lots of local authors, a deftly-curated kid section and gifty things –coasters, stationary, candles and the like. The two staff are the kind of competent and earnest types served up by a Junior League.
“Yes, it is my first time… Uhhh no, really, I’m fine… Just lookin’… Yeah, I sure will, Thanks.”
Left on my own, I sidle up the aisles and check out the wares. I want to buy Mary Oliver’s new book of poetry, Dog Songs, for my sister who has gotten a new dog. But it’s not there. But there is book by the poet/author Pablo Neruda called The Book of Questions.
To the staff’s credit, they simply ring it up, they don’t go on and on about much of anything. I like that a lot.
Pablo Neruda died in 1973; this book is 320 questions that compose 74 sequences. (Translated by William O’Daly) And I tell you, it’s JUST WHAT you need to simmer down during a hectic holiday season.
Here are 3 of the his 320 questions. Sit and wonder.
Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?
And what is the name of the month
that falls between December and January?
(Sketch – Andre Alvez)