Archive for March, 2010

“Elegy of the Personal Letter”

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

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 stationery,

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.
“Elegy for the Personal Letter” by Allison Joseph, from My Father’s
Kites. © Steel Toe Books, 2010

Take time to look out your window, plant some flowers, send a note to a friend. Send a note using a pen and stationery. It’s ok if you make a mistake and have to cross out, that’s the luxury of a handwritten note.

Below see our fold over note with the window box. A perfect example of stationery that can be used to correspond to a friend.