Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Poetry Tuesday: "Elegy for the Personal Letter" by Aliison Joseph

Elegy for the Personal Letter

--Allison Joseph

I miss the rumpled corners of correspondence,
the ink blots and crossouts that show
someone lives on the other end, a person
whose hands make errors, leave traces.
I miss fine stationary, its raised elegant
lettering prominent on creamy shades of ivory
or pearl grey. I even miss hasty notes
dashed off on notebook paper, edges
ragged as their scribbled messages—
can't much write now—thinking of you.
When letters come now, they are formatted
by some distant computer, addressed
to Occupant or To the family living at—
meager greetings at best,
salutations made by committee.
Among the glossy catalogs
and one time only offers
the bills and invoices,
letters arrive so rarely now that I drop
all other mail to the floor when
an envelope arrives and the handwriting
is actual handwriting, the return address
somewhere I can locate on any map.
So seldom is it that letters come
That I stop everything else
to identify the scrawl that has come this far—
the twist and the whirl of the letters,
the loops of the numerals. I open
those envelopes first, forgetting
the claim of any other mail,
hoping for news I could not read
in any other way but this.


Crystal Cook said...

I love this. Getting a hand written letter in the mail (which like never happens) is one of my favorite things :)

Ally said...

Awesome post! I love snail mail and still send cards to this day :)

I'm following along from Robyn's blog. Glad to "meet" you :)

Ally @ FourthGradeNothing.com

LittleSilkDress said...

Love this! And in response to your comment...I will be in sunny CA in April for a brief visit, so I will definitely have to look into some yummy strawberries while I am there!

Miriam in KS said...

I think I recognize those mailboxes. (But I forget our old box number. *Le sigh*.)

I love this poem.

Unknown said...

although I text them often and talk to the on the every week I still send my college kids a hand written letter occasionally, just because I still can.

Ann said...

What a great poem. That is exactly how I feel about a good old fashioned letter

Life Is A Road Trip said...

Boy, ain't that the truth!

Joann Mannix said...

Beautiful and so succinct. My heart warms up at the sight of old fashioned correspondence. An elegant art unfortunately that is going the way of so many other things.

Wisconsin Parent said...

There is something about a letter in the mail box, isn't there. We've come a long way since the pony express!