Hi Hart Beat. I hope you had a great weekend. I had the best time and am really wishing that it was another long weekend now. I love reading the New Yorker every week and lately I’ve been combing through the poetry archives. I came across this one and thought of you. I love writing letters and sending mail. You got anything good lately, Hart Beat?
The Lost Art of Letter Writing
by Eavan Boland
The ratio of daylight to handwriting
Was the same as lacemaking to eyesight.
The paper was so thin it skinned air.
The had was fire and the page tinder.
Everything burned away except the one
Place they singled out between fingers
Held over a letter pad they set aside
For the long evenings of their leave-takings,
Always asking after what they kept losing,
Always performing—even when a shadow
Fell across the page and they knew the answer
Was not forthcoming—
An art is lost when it no longer knows
How to teach a sorrow to speak, come, see
The way we lost it: stacking letters in the attic,
Going downstairs so as not to listen to
The fields stirring at night as they became
Memory and in the morning as they became
Ink; what we did so as not to hear them
Whispering the only question they knew
By heart, the only one they learned from all
Those epistles of air and unreachable distance,
How to ask: is it still there?