Home » Poetry » Goodbye, Birmingham Central Library

Goodbye, Birmingham Central Library

Today I saw news that the demolition of the old central library in Birmingham is due to begin in January:

This coincides with the announcement of substantial cuts at the new library:

In June 2013 I wrote a poem in response to this article:

Birmingham Central Library: Saying goodbye after 40 years

See below for my poem. Please pause and consider the library and what it means to you.

Goodbye, Birmingham Central Library

Farewell, you concrete blot of brutalist architecture,
eight floors of dodgy escalators, low ceilings,
threadbare carpets and little natural daylight.

As the gatekeepers, the guardians of knowledge
leave their posts for ever, the Prince of Darkness*
believing he has finally claimed his prize,
the place where books are incinerated, not kept,
has sent his death-eaters to hover and claw at the windows
when suddenly, up the Victorian spiral staircase,
circling up through the archive, up into the vortex rise,
not flames, but 40 years of human dust – up, up and away.

© Heather Wastie
June 29th 2013


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