You ask me why I read a book

You ask me why I read a book.
There is no reason I can tell;
No word nor phrase can match the maze
Where my bedeviled fancies dwell.

But how the light shines thinly through
With one hand pulling at the shade.
The wonder of another world
Swings out in snatches through the braid;

Sometimes the hand and eye will drop
Without the strength for reaching high
As weak and old as visions cold,
That went so freely in my mind.

So it is I read a book
And turn to view another’s page.
I mind me by another’s turn
The visions of a silvered age.

And ah it’s then I see the stars
And plot my path once more by night;
Tether the wheel and trim the lamp
For sailing seas by candlelight

Still following the river’s flow
To some Atlantis lost below
—The secret Kahn and Coleridge know—
Found in the shining eyes of Poe.

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