Poem of the Day: Book Fostering by Rosemary Baker

ROSEMARY Baker, who wrote this engaging reflection on books as surrogate children, was a leading figure in Wigtown’s successful bid to become Scotland’s National Book Town. Born in Lincoln in 1934, the one-time London fashion model and life-time poet, worked as a teacher, and then university lecturer, before moving with her husband to Wigtown in 1983. The poem is in her collection Below the Graft (AWB, 2016).


I buy books to sell.

That’s what I tell myself.

Actually I sell them

with a bad grace.

I have my own books

of course: family books.

They were never for sale.

They can’t be priced.

My shop stock is a

foster family.

I cater for their needs and

enjoy their company.

I tend their bruises

bind their shaken spines

mend their jackets and try

to give them a bit of polish.

Once they come out in society

they flaunt themselves

before unsuitable adventurers.

I take to match making.

I want to place them

in a good situation

in their own household

with a loving partner.

I see the chosen leave

for better or worse

and give my blessing

but a foster child is still a child

– and leaves a gap.

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