Title: The Book of Sadness

Author: James Brown

In: Sport 32: Summer 2004

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, December 2004

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

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Sport 32: Summer 2004

The Book of Sadness

page 145

The Book of Sadness

If you were expecting a weighty tome,
you'll be disappointed.
The Book of Sadness is actually
quite small—a manky paperback, in fact,
that will fit snugly in a pocket.

Perusing a dim alcove of a second-hand shop,
I latched onto it immediately.
It had seen many owners.
I spied your name, inked
in your careful, considered hand
—and my own scrawl, of course,
lurching like a drunken spider.

I wondered what page you'd got up to,
but there were so many folded corners
and abandoned bookmarks
it was impossible to tell.

I opened one at random and, yes,
the passage was bleak beyond conscience;
after each sentence, I could feel
my slim allotment of hope
draining into sand.
Indeed, it would not take much
of such ‘wrung consequence’
to leave one
‘foetal in the well's zero’.

page 146

At the counter I offered five dollars,
as the soft-pencilled price indicated.
‘I'm sorry, but it's actually ten,’
said old Mr P. ‘You see, it's signed.’
‘But,’ I mumbled, ‘I'm the author.’
‘Good for you,’ said old Mr P quietly,
‘good for you.’