Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Elegy for the Personal Letter" by Allison Joseph
I miss the rumpled coreners of correspondence,
the ink blots and crossouts that show
someone lives on the other end, a person
whose hand makes errors, leaves 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 write much now-thinking of you.
When letters come now, they are formatted
by some distant computer, addressed
to Occupant or To family living at-
meager greetings at best,
salutations made by committee.
Among the glossy catalogues
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.


Motherkitty said...

I know exactly what you mean! I absolutely love letters --- real, honest-to-goodness, written by hand letters. Like you, if I spot a "treasure" in the mail, I drop everything and settle to read it. I savor it, each word. Oh! It saddens me that personal letters are being pushed to the roadside while e-mail, texting and twitter are taking over. That the schools are going to stop teaching children cursive writing makes me want to weep. I loved what you had to share. Thanks!

Vintages said...

It seems letters - real, handwritten letters - are almost a thing of the past. We have a collection of old correspondence. Some are love letters. Some are family conversations. Love them all. Thanks.