He never returned without a book
a newfound treasure, tucked under his arm
until he could not pay the rent
and had to sell them, one by one
each volume, old and leather-bound
for food, his newfound plague.
He never returned without a sou
from selling his tomes so dearly loved
but seemed to wither, stripped of life
as fortune stripped him of his words.
The faded print he held so dear
that meaning seemed to die.
He never returned from whence he came
the house with payment overdue
but stood instead to wave the flag
of men e’er doomed to martyrdom.
He took his senile stance with pride
the only chapter left to him.