Broadside # 79 - Cross-Cultural Communications NY

"The Book of Mysteries"  Fine Art Photo by Adel Gorgy. "The Worm in the Book" Poem by Stanley H. Barkan

Credit: Cross-Cultural Communications Art & Poetry Series Broadsides # 79




for Alfred Van Loen


“The worm crawled in

on page one-thousand-and-one

and left on page ten.”



So it was written in pencil

on the top-left corner

of the title page

of the Book of Levi,

filled with fine line drawings

etched or engraved

on the pages of parchment

bound without glue.

The Dutch artist

of the continuous line

—like Brancusi’s endless column—

pointed it out to me

as I held

with both hands

this incunabulum

of his family,

descendants of Moses,

whose stories had been passed down

from Sinai and Nebo

to all the children

descending to the valley of the Jordan,

crossing over in fulfillment of promises

—covenants made and broken—

told and retold,

inscribed and stitched together

—from time to time—

in books like this one.

But, somehow, always a worm in a page,

in an apple on a tree in a garden,

spoiling the linkages of millennia.


Let this epigraph be my epitaph:

“The worm crawled in . . . and out again.”


Stanley H. Barkan



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