This book was someone’s treasure trove, a file
of paper fame and ink eternity,
an archive of the names that, for a while,
loomed largest and were sought most eagerly.
How heady must have been the hunting down
of household words, the touching of the hem
of fame, the acquisition of renown,
the locking up forever of some gem.

But ink will fade and paper wear to tatters,
the relic, like the man, return to dust.
All archives are in vain. This be my goal:
Against the world’s decay, its moth and rust,
preserve the only autograph that matters:
the maker’s mark inscribed upon the soul.