'To Wenlock Books' by Paul Francis

Back in the days of Thatcher, long before Tony Blair,
There was lightning in the heavens: suddenly, you were there.
A presence in the High Street, a place where books were sold
An intellectual colony worth more than any gold.
No hard sell, rapid turnover, you let us take our ease
With background music, comfy chairs, and endless cakes and teas.
The staff were always friendly, no effort was too much
They hunted shelves, they ordered books with a cheerful, friendly touch.

Your influence extended, you got the writers in,
The website teemed with new events; somehow, we knew you’d win
The Independent Bookseller, that marvellous golden pen
But still initiatives poured out - you never did say when.
You tempted children off the streets, they didn’t go home for days,
Succumbed to Pottermania- remember those displays?
Workshops, signings, story time, you hosted reading groups
For the Wenlock Poetry Festival, you organised the troops.
Andrew Motion, Carol Ann, The Guardian came to tea
A little shop in Wenlock gains immortality.
The flames of Kindle flicker out, and Amazon’s a threat
But there is something special here, and the book’s not buried yet.
It’s not just cash that matters, not power, or good looks,
We need to feed our heads and hearts –

Happy Birthday, Wenlock Books.

Paul Francis
Much Wenlock
25.11.12