Yesterday was World Poetry Day so, here in OUP Archives, we enjoyed spending the day flicking through old OUP staff magazines for poetic examples. This poem was
written by May Wedderburn Cannan, a British poet active during World War One, and also the daughter of Charles Cannan who ran Oxford University Press from 1895 until his death in 1919. It was published in The Periodical in 1923.
The first time he saw him, he could tell the dark
haired boy was not older than eight years old, probably a little bit less when
taking in mind the high the small child possessed. Will bitted his bottom lip
slightly as he slowly started making his way towards where the brown eyed kid
was playing, his glance wandering around the environment from time to time,
watching his surroundings in hope of not getting discovered. He knew he shouldn’t
be there in first place, but he couldn’t help it… He was curious, the dark
haired had an aura around him that had certainly caught his attention.
He didn’t even know his name, yet he couldn’t help but feel sorry for
him… For the pain that he was going to live through.
In many Urban Fantasylands, library science has not advanced since sometime in the early nineties. (In particularly bad cases, this can be ‘the 1890s’.) Rare is the computerized card catalog or digital periodical archive. Occasionally, to demonstrate that it’s a high-tech, modern library, they’ll have a microfiche reader.
(Fortunately, these microfiche machines have an uncanny knack to locate the exact article with but a few moments of scanning through them. Presumably this is part of the advantage of living in a universe with magic in.)
Often as not, however, the really -useful- books only come into play with private collections, and it’s here that things fall back to the 1890s, with books organized in haphazard fashion, often shelved by the owners themselves, with vital points of prophecy at risk of being obscured by coffee rings. At times, the urge is strong to turn professional archivists on the local wizard’s home, that they might purify it with modern preservation techniques and a proper system of cataloging.
It is perhaps fortunate for the wizard population that this doesn’t happen.