Poem of the week: The Book Keeper’s Daughter

From The Poet’s Coat by Gabrielle Alioth

I have always liked the thought
Of finishing things,
Days, books, my existence
When I was in the eye of confusion.

I like the solitude of empty sheets
The reticence of filled ledgers
And the white light
Just before dusk.

I was taught to account for time
Balance my dreams, and
I have learnt to file my memories
In even numbered boxes.

During sleepless nights I take them out
To feel the pain and in the dark
I see his pencil moving over the page,
Recording the price of life.


Gabrielle Alioth is a Swiss writer living in Ireland. Her first novel, The Fool, received the Hamburg literary award. Today’s poem is from The Poet’s Coat, a dual language edition of her poems translated into German by Fred Kurer