Panthers watch me from the shelves,
Black and sleek their glistening spines;
Back the volumes heap themselves,
The better to leap at weakening signs.
Shall I wrestle with a book?
Shall I accept attack?
The menace of the waiting stack,
The browser’s first impetuous look.
Yes, I will read; I surrender;
Let books sink fangs into my chest;
I’ll grapple with nine lives compressed —
A beast of words, gnawing and tender.