I love receiving and writing letters. I collect stationery like corners collect dust. I blame my mother for this addiction because, from the moment I could read, she has written and posted me letters. All through my childhood, she would often disappear to the post office and post a letter back to where she’d just walked from. Initially I thought she was quite mad. But of course she knew and I soon came to realise, that there’s nothing quite like the thrill of receiving an envelope, complete with beautiful handwriting, a pretty stamp and always containing a little message of love, support or advice.
She still sends me letters (despite us speaking daily and seeing each other weekly). Sometimes it will be nothing more than a page torn from a magazine that has taken her fancy. At other times she will ask my advice on something, share a recipe or enclose a photo or a funny cartoon. She never holds back (sigh) on sending me newspaper clippings that support her political views. I’ve decided it’s her version of Facebook. Her handwriting is very distinctive and she continues to use beautiful stationery. E.v.e.r.y. single letter I receive from her gives me a thrill.
Not long ago Mum sent me a poem she had torn from a magazine with a yellow sticky attached that read “Isn’t this poem beautiful? Um, yes, absolutely it is. Evocative, gentle words designed to prick the imagination. Beauty can be found in unexpected places and at the least likely of times. I choose to share it here because of the bitterly cold winter that is lingering in much of Europe and some parts of the United States and Canada. So, to my northern hemisphere friends, I send you a different way of thinking about winter, courtesy of Mr Gabriel Setoun (1861 – 1930).
The door was shut, as doors should be,
Before you went to bed last night;
Yet Jack Frost has got in, you see,
And left your windows silver white.
He must have waited till you slept;
And not a single word he spoke,
But pencilled o’er the panes and crept
Away again before you woke.
And now you cannot see the hills
Nor fields that stretch beyond the lane;
But there are fairer things than these
His fingers traced on every pane.
Rocks and castles towering high;
Hills and dales, and streams and fields;
And knights in armo[u]r riding by,
With nodding plumes and shining shields.
And here are little boats, and there
Big ships with sails spread to the breeze;
And yonder, palm trees waving fair
On islands set in silver seas.
And butterflies with gauzy wings;
And herds of cows and flocks of sheep;
And fruit and flowers and all the things
You see when you are sound asleep.
For creeping softly underneath
The door when all the lights are out,
Jack Frost takes every breath you breathe,
And knows the things you think about.
He paints them on the window pane
In fairy lines with frozen steam;
And when you wake you see again
The lovely things you saw in dream.
Do you like receiving and writing letters or do you think it’s a waste of time given the advent of text, social media and email? Personally, I can’t imagine a world without them. If you feel the same and like this poem, perhaps you might print it out and post it to a friend? 🙂 x