Friday, August 19, 2011

52 Poems (week 23)

I've been thinking of letters and letter writing, both sending and receiving. So poems on the topic seemed appropriate. The first is an abstract from Anne Michaels' 'Letters from Martha', and those last lines make me pine for something to arrive in the mail.

'I rip the envelope and I am in Bangkok.
I rip the envelope and I am in Varanasi
Allahabad Agra Delhi.
Christmas Greetings from the Katmandu Hotel...


...You pour from these squares, these blue envoys.
And just when I feel I've lost you in the world,
I can't keep up,
your postcard comes with the words
'wait for me'.
The second from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 'Sonnett XXVIII: My letters':

My letters-- all dead paper, mute and white!
And yet they seem alive and quivering
Against my tremulous hands which loose the string
And let them drop down on my knee to-night,
This said,--he wished to have me in his sight
Once, as a friend: this fixed a day in spring
To come and touch my hand...a simple thing,
Yet I wept for it!--this...the paper's light...
Said, Dear, I love thee; and I sank and quailed
As if God's future thundered on my past.
This said, I am thine--and so its ink has paled
With lying at my heart that beat too fast.
And this...O Love, thy words have ill availed
If, what this said, I dared repeat at last! 
Photo source: airmail letter

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