Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pen & Ink

"Elegy for the Personal Letter"

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.
~Allison Joseph

When I read this poem on The Writer's Almanac this morning, I couldn't believe how fitting it was. Lately, I've been getting back in touch with people via handwritten letter and I thrill at the whole process--staring at your thoughts in ink on a page, sealing them up in a tidy envelope and shipping them across the country or across the ocean, and then racing home every day to check the mail for a reply. Allison Joseph's poem captures the magic in letters, "the twist and the whirl of the letters, the loops of the numerals." Receiving a handwritten letter satisfies something in me that can't be met any other way.


studentnurse said...

I absolutely love that movie :) I am all for period dramas and ur blog is so inspiring :) keep up the amazing work hun!

Sabrina said...

Thanks so much! I'm glad you read it. Also...you've got good taste. Bright Star is stunning!

Post a Comment