The World Before Us
The world before us is full of letters and postcards
an embodiment of love and warm regards
scribbles and scrawls— I wish you were here
the depths of emotions were all crystal clear
Penned stories of small towns and folks of all ages
an endless sequence of epistolary exchanges
a handful of postage stamps for letters flying overseas
all gently wrapped with strings and closed with wax seals
Thousand words of feelings that ferried long ago
are now tiny treasures—papers turned almost yellow
my mother pleads, oh please don’t let it pass
all the memories and echoes of the world before us
In our age of cold screens and rapid-fire communication
a generation ingrained with instant gratification
I hope it’s not yet too late
for us to start writing in the old-time way
This poem was inspired by the conversation I had with my mother a few days ago. I had asked her about the way they communicate during the earlier times. She happily showed me these old letters and photographs that she had kept for years. It’s the letters and photographs she had exchanged with my father during the early 1980s. I can see in her eyes how precious and priceless these experiences might have been. The joy of receiving letters from the people you love the most — letters and postcards that were carefully crafted, where emotions had dripped through the words and fell right into the paper.
I was so astonished to see these old photographs — almost yellowish, portraying how they lived for years even before I was born. I asked myself, “When was the last time I wrote a letter by hand? or when was the last time I received a handwritten letter from someone?”
The old-fashioned way of letter writing can seem like an obsolete form of communication now, in our digital world which prefers electronic texts and typing-using-a-one-thumb types of communications. But I believe letter writing is still just as wonderful and fulfilling as it has always been during the old times. In the same way as photographs, these letters can capture a moment in time — a moment in one’s life. They can show us the deep emotions of the writer, what was going on to their mind, or what exactly was happening in the world at that time they wrote the letter.
Handwriting is an extremely personal aspect of one’s character — the way they think or the way they behave. It can say a lot about one’s personality that’s why receiving a letter from someone is very heartwarming. It’s like they are opening their heart to you.
This poem was also inspired by the book, 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. I had read this book a few weeks ago. It consists of letters primarily between Helene Hanff, a writer in New York City, and Frank Doel, a book dealer in Marks & Company, London. Even though they are separated geographically and weren’t even able to meet each other, the exchange of letters they have made for twenty years captured the sentimental friendship they have shared.
Thank you Suntonu Bhadra for this wonderful prompt. I really enjoyed writing this one. It inspired me to write letters to my friends. My mother even bought me postage stamps so I can have it mailed to them. Thank you, again!
If you want to join this prompt, click the link below:
Paper Poetry Prompt #2: Stamps and Scribble