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Love in the Library 
by Jimmy Buffett

On the corner of Government and Bay Avenue
The old doomsday fanatic wore a crown of kudzu
Sirens where wailing in the gulf coastal heat
And it seemed like the whole world was in forced retreat
I paid no attention, revolved through the door
Passed the newspaper rack on the worn marble floor
Near civil war history my heart skipped a beat
She was standing on fiction stretched high on bare feet

Love in the library, quiet and cool
Love in the library, there are no rules
Surrounded by stories surreal and sublime
I fell in love in the library once upon a time

I was the pirate and she was the queen
Sir Francis and Elizabeth the best there's ever been
Then she strolled past my table and stopped at the stairs
Then sent me a smile as she reached for Flaubert

She gathered her books, walked while she read
Words never spoken but so much was said
You can read all you want into this rendez-vous
But it's safer than most things that lovers can do
Well stories have endings and fantasies fade
The guard by the door starts drawing the shade
So write your own ending and hope they come true
For the lovers and strangers on Bay Avenue

"Love in the Library" struck me immediately as a song about how I knew love until my first serious girlfriend I still kind of know it this way.

Imagine, if you will, that you're minding your own business, perhaps walking and reading. As you look up, suddenly you see a vision of beauty. There's a person standing there who, to you, seems perfect. They don't notice you, but you stand entranced. Then, as the person walks by, they turn and smile a flirtatious smile, the most beautiful smile you've ever seen.

You never speak to them. You simply know that you've been struck with love's arrows, and you watch them walk away.

The end of the story leaves you with a challenge: do you walk up to them and ask them to dinner, or just chat? Or do you let them go?

I never feel guilty about this kind of love. It strikes, and I don't have a choice with it anyway. As the song says, "it's safer than most things that lovers can do."

Content © 2003, Michael J Dangler
Updated on 11/21/2003. Site Credits / Email Me!
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