Poem of the Day
What Kind of Times Are These
By Adrienne Rich
There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.
I've walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don't be fooled
this isn't a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.
I won't tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light--
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.
And I won't tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it's necessary
to talk about trees.
Adrienne Rich, "What Kind of Times are These" from Collected Poems: 1950-2012. Copyright © 2016 by The Adrienne Rich Literary Trust. Copyright © 1995 Adrienne Rich.
Berkeley Books of Paris opened for business in May 2006 when three Californians who had met and worked together at a bookstore in the center of Paris decided to team up and build their own.
Phil Wood had been coming to Paris for many years and decided to move here from San Francisco in 1996. In 1997 he co-founded the San Francisco Book Co, hired Richard and Phyllis, and spent the next seven years building up the bookshop before retiring. In 2002 Phil and his wife, Anouk, moved from Montmartre to the Ile St-Louis, where they lead a happily quiet life together, playing host as often as possible to their children and grandchildren. He retired, for the third time, in 2014.
Richard Toney worked for many years for Green Apple Books in San Francisco before moving to Paris in 1999, when he was headhunted to work for the San Francisco Book Company. In 2005, he, Phil, and Phyllis reunited to build another bookshop. Richard is very widely read and knowledgeable about many subjects, as is shown by the stock in our shop, some of which came from his personal collection. Richard retired from an illustrious career of curmudgeonly bookselling in 2014.
Phyllis Cohen spends most of her time tending to books and finding good homes for them.