Diana Wallace Peach, over at Myths of the Mirror set a writing challenge prompt for the new year… which I’ve just found out expires today!

Here’s my offering, ‘Five Spines of Doom’ for her ‘Tottering TBR pile’ prompt: a nightmare of the ‘to be read’ books we all have – particularly on our Kindles…

Five spines of doom, the living pile declares

To struggling mind awakening in the gloom

Of winter morning in the dreaming room

Who shouts? He whispers to the wall

Five spines of doom, where will has failed

To clear the conscience of the might

of these five books which through the night

Have taunted sleep of he who put them there!

Beside the bed, next to his head…

That, given this priority

They would at last be read and free

And not in their minority


Like struggling morning’s light

He grasps, past January’s tea gone cold

The truth his doubting mind foretold

‘Five spines of doom’ … it rings, a nightmare’s fright

Five spines – now books – declare his guilt

Short days, he blames…or longer nights

The five lie mute, abed.. And sadder, yet, unread.

His rising knees make wall from quilt.

Around the Kindle fingers fumble

Seeking to suppress the mumble

Of words in millions’ silent plea

A digital majority.


© Stephen Tanham 2020

24 Comments on “Five Spines of Doom

  1. Spines of doom. I like that, Steve. A familiar problem faced by many. Your poem is a very worthy contender for the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This has such a Poe-ish gothic feeling to it, Steven. Loved it. I hope you tackle those 5 spines of doom during this dark winter. 🙂 I’m about 6 days out with reblogs, but it’s on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Five Spines of Doom #TBR | Myths of the Mirror

  4. Steve this is a wonderful poem, and brings the guilt right back to me in giving up the real feel of the spine of a book for the awkward fumble of my fingers and Kindle… Wonderful way with words ~ and as I told Diana, my pile of books in my kindle has grown to heights I never before could have imagined… and it is kinda cool as well as scary.

    Liked by 1 person

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