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I Have His Letters Still

October 7, 2014

(click: hear the voice behind the words)

This is the title poem from my book, “I Have His Letters Still” – Poetry of Everyday Life.  To read more excerpt poems, click on the cover below and you will be taken to a digital bookPurchase on Amazon – or purchase an autographed copy at  Thank you

cover design by Teresa Alessandria De Sapio of TADS-Art & Illustration

When I was young
they were kept in a shoebox.
Then, in late middle age,
in an old leather correspondence case,
found at a flea market,
kept in the bottom desk drawer.

Handwritten in flowing cursive script
by original Lewis Waterman pen
point dipped in a well
the fountain of personal essence
the blue flowed with emotion
like the waters of life.

Soul captured not by Lucifer
but by the fiber of the paper
crafted in Egypt along the Nile
history nested so deeply between the reeds
weaved invisibly
between the threads of papyrus.

The envelope, self-sealed in a meticulous way
with wax, monogrammed
engraved so beautifully on the back.
The Steamboat Savannah stamp
hand canceled – May 24, 1944
a distinctive ink which marked its journey
as would a traveler his journal
from South Carolina to Baptistown, NJ.

I treasure this letter, and its envelope.
When I pick it up and read
I feel him rising
through the warmth of the words,
grasping my hand…
this post saved in the attic of my memories.

While I have other poets today
their presence I see just fleetingly
on the computer screen,
my palm touch against the monitor
only makes work for me
with Windex.

Though a friend taught me about the “Save” button
I feel as if I have saved nothing, and lost much
each time I push/click –
their correspondence lost –
in impersonal set aside.

Why time took this treasured means of human discourse
there is no answer.
Does it have no sense of history –
Upon my death, for what
will they use my leather satchel?

Thankfully — I have his letters still.

Ray Brown

6 Comments leave one →
  1. elijah permalink
    August 20, 2009 5:25 am

    Wow, I love this one. Man you’re in a zone. Next time I see you I must throw you my pen!!!!

  2. Ray Brown permalink*
    September 22, 2009 1:09 am

    Thanks Elijah. I developed a personal affinity for this poem as well. Since you read it, I’ve changed a few lines at the suggestion of some other poets in the South Mountain Poetry workshop. It never ceases to amaze me how a written work can be improved with the prospective of others.

    As far as throwing your pen, don’t you dare! For those who have not read your work yet, or heard you read, they can not begin to appreciate what a talent your are. Keep that pen at the ready…….

    thank you for reading….and writing.

  3. July 8, 2010 9:22 am

    I understand exactly what you mean; special “things” you can touch connect us to the essence of a person or memory. It’s sad to think that after we die they will just be a thing again, and may even be thrown away. (And maybe my poems, too.)After my house burned I went through gathering what I could–half-burned letters from my friend who died young, my son’s baby blanket, etc… Everyone wanted me to just trash it all. I said, No! These are my memories and I want to hold them. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ray Brown permalink*
    July 10, 2010 10:38 am

    Thank you very much for reading. I appreciate your work. “These are my memories and I want to hold them….” I will remember those words….

  5. October 11, 2014 12:02 am

    that was a very well written poem. very much enjoy reading it..

  6. Ray Brown permalink*
    October 11, 2014 11:57 pm

    Thank you kgbethlehem

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