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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Stack fever

The following will be featured in the upcoming newsletter of the Friends of the San Francisco Maritime Museum Library, Relative Bearings. The discovery of this text was a happy coincidence, as librarians everywhere have been gearing up to celebrate National Poetry Month. It was decided to share it here, also, along with an editorial comment, in the hope of reaching a wide audience:

Stack Fever
by A. Poppet-Turning

I must go down to the Stacks again,
To the lonely shelves and bays,
And must take along some sustenance,
'Cause I could be lost for days.

I must go down to the Stacks again,
To page requested books,
That have been shelved hither and yon,
In overfull shelves and nooks.

Oh, I must go down to the Stacks again,
Where the light bulbs go to die,
And all I ask is an empty cart,
And a torch to steer her by.


A typescript copy of the above poem was found tucked into the Library's copy of English maritime books printed before 1801, apparently used as a bookmark. Examination of the Library's records failed to reveal either a staff member or volunteer bearing the name A. Poppet Turning, and further research yielded no fruitful results, although it is wondered, perhaps, if the author is related to the South Kensington Poppet-Turnings. (The use of the word "torch" for "flashlight" seems to indicate the author's mother tongue may have been British English.) It is hoped that further research may be illuminating. --Ed.

This is, of course, a parody of John Masefield's "Sea Fever," but that's about as much as is known. If any readers have any information on either A. Poppet-Turning, or his (or her) works, do get in touch--our researchers would be grateful for any leads.


Buck said...

This is glorious; especially on April Fool's Day! The tie-in to Masefield is obvious, but I like the play on words of the author's name. I know a poppet as either a little doll or a valve in my car's engine, but there's an older, nautical meaning as well - the cradle that holds a ship.

A poppet turning :-)

Nicely done.

Heather said...

Thank you, Buck! I'll add your comment to the library's reference file we're compiling on A. Poppet-Turning.:)