reading a hand written letter from a friend

I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by writing and reading poetry, every day.

For writing inspiration, I decided to write from a list I made last month of 30 things that make me happy. One each day of the month.

Today, day nine: reading a hand written letter from a friend

My poem today is a mirror poem, inspired by Barb Edler‘s prompt provided on yesterday’s Ethical ELA site. This amazing site provides daily prompts and offers opportunities to meet up with other’s celebrating poetry this month.

The minute I read what Barb shared, I knew it was a perfect fit for my poem today. You can find Jamila Woods’ audio recording and poem here that was mirrored on Nazim Hikmet’s poem Things I didn’t know I loved.

after Jamila Woods after Nazim Hikmet

it’s postmarked December 18 2020, the last day of school
i sit in the living room the sun streaming in
even though it is winter,
i open the letter
handwritten on thick paper

i never knew i liked stationery

i remember reading old letters my mother
wrote home when she was in Europe marked

i used to hate the flimsiness of the paper
and the tininess of her cursive
that was difficult to decipher

now i’m grateful for the physical record
of time long ago
tied up in a box
holding other memories

i used to hate the slowness of the mail
it lacked immediate payback
now i cherish the thrill of finding
a letter addressed to me in my mailbox

i never realized how voices are
amplified when i touch the paper
the ink

i never knew how much i loved
to read a letter
written on beautiful stationery
scrawled in black

day 9, national poetry month 2021

8 thoughts on “reading a hand written letter from a friend

  1. So tactile! I enjoyed how you took us on a little trip (like the journey of the mail?) through your memories and your change of heart about letters.

  2. So beautiful. I have a friend who refuses to email or text, etc. She writes notes – the handwriting really is so much more intimate and meaningful. Society’s gotten used to things being so instant, to seeing one another via FaceTime or online, etc…. but think of all of history before, like in the war years, loved ones waiting for letters… there’s a certain fortitude in it. Not to mention this:

    I never realized how voices are
    amplified when i touch the paper
    the ink


  3. I thought I had seen your post, but guess it was yesterday’s post. This makes me sad, but I love all the parts you’ve included, the early feelings & now the love as you look again. I don’t think I’ve received a letter in a long time, an occasional postcard but that’s it. I love the repetition, but in all the line “I never knew I liked stationery” brings up so many feelings immediately. Thanks, Julieanne!

  4. Yes! So true! I love getting long, handwritten letters from my college friend. Come to think of it, I owe her one…time to choose stationary and pen and WRITE!

  5. You’re right – this prompt was perfect for this topic. I love how the letter in your present took you to your past. Amplified voices through the touch of paper is exquisite! This takes me back to my college days when I wrote letters to my friends back home and letters from my grandmother, especially right after my parents separated. Thanks for sharing your memories so that I could remember my own.

  6. Julienne…this is beautiful. So heartfelt. You make me want to go the the boxes of letters I have saved…but for what? The stationery, the cursive. It’s all so beautiful and dated. Today’s kids can’t read it. Thank goodness for our “old” decoding skills.

  7. Oh, the letter. A gift rediscovered in the pandemic.

    “now i’m grateful for the physical record
    of time long ago
    tied up in a box
    holding other memories.”

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