1st March 2018
Do you remember how you started your letters?
I found three from when I was at uni today,
tucked away in a drawer the envelopes broken open beside them.
They all start differently
but none are dated so I can’t be sure when exactly you wrote them.
One is marked as Sunday and another with Market Drayton
as if I might have forgotten where you were
in the time between visits.
They mostly read the same.
You haven’t done much and are short of news to tell.
Sat around in your living room enjoying coffee and choc rolls,
telling me of the weather
and who hasn’t been to visit recently
only for Granny’s post-script notes to correct you afterwards.
In Sunday you change tact,
letting slip moments of history like castaway comments
in the way you always did during conversations.
You say ‘I’m an not a very good letter writer
but here goes
I will do my best
good job Geoff only lived in the next Village
or he would have finished with me years ago
Kitty fowler tried to
but I wom
mum always bought me nice clothes
so I think that helped’
You were never one for punctuation,
always preferred Maths
and loved to say how clever you had been
back when you were at school.
So here goes,
the latest news from this end as best as I can tell it.
The wedding will be June,
I’m sorry you won’t see me,
but I’ll feel you every step of the way.
You met Sean on a few occasions
but never remembered him afterwards,
though you seemed to like him at the time.
Mum still works outside with her hands,
Joanna is at university studying enginerring
and no they are not just men’s jobs anymore.
I have taken up a careers in accounting,
your love for numbers must have gone deeper than I thought
but I still spill words onto pages
whenever there is a pen and a blank sheet available.
Outside it is snowing like the time Grandad built a sledge
from a plastic tub with water piping runners.
Joanna and I played on the bank by the oak
until we were soaked and frozen to the bone.
Warming ourselves beside your electric heater,
we listened to you tell us stories
about being the only women
with a driving licence in your village.
How hid under the stairs when the air raids came,
and your husband drove home during blackouts
headlights shuttered and milk-bottle glasses
perched on his nose.
I don’t doubt you had more stories left to tell,
and I’m sorry I didn’t have chance to hear them.
Maybe someday I will find you
and you can tell me everything you forgot
to put in your letters.
Tonight at DVersePoetsPub we’re being challenged to write letters, though I think this might be cheating slightly as I have quite literally quoted from a letter I received from my Great-gran while I was studying history in Bath.
The prospect of writing a letter always reminds me of her so I couldn’t try to write anything else for this prompt without first writing her a letter.