Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Elegy for the Personal Letter by Allison Joseph



Elegy for the Personal Letter
by 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.

from My Father's Kites.
Oh, how I love letters!  I try to write them often, but I've slacked off.  Nobody seems to write by hand anymore.  I mourn future generations who will have no letters to read from their lovers or loved ones.  I remember as a child writing to my cousin and we'd write SWAK (sealed with a kiss) on the back of the envelope and then kiss it wearing some of our mothers' red lipstick.  I wish I still had those letters, but sadly, they're gone.  Who could have imagined that people would stop writing letters?  I have a notebook full of missives & cards from friends.  They're treasures.  My favorite is a postcard from Renee with the sweetest note on back...I still find it hard to believe she's gone.  But I have her letter with a photo of her to look at and remember her precious, giving soul.
Write someone a letter today. 
P.S.  Been busy gardening, reading and photographing flowers.  I have huge tomatoe plants in pots and some cucumbers, too.  I laugh with delight every time a seed sprouts and makes a plant.  It's a miracle I'll never get tired of watching every Spring.  I have several families of Bluebirds in our yard.  One is sitting on 5 little blue eggs.  Another miracle of Spring. 

1 comment:

Jan said...

I used to write letters; then I wrote notes. Now I've fizzled with a few resurgences every now and then. I love letters. Thank you, Marion.