Tag Archives: family

Heirlooms: poem based on the letters


For this family no precious objects,

collections to be loaned to museums

or passed down as heirlooms.

Scarce enough money sometimes

to put food on the scrubbed table

or buy corduroys for the boys

to cover their bare bums from trousers

worn too thin for decency.

Yet on the surprising tide

some treasure is brought to shore.

What strange waves brought to me

this package of well-thumbed letters?

Paper is worn to silk, envelopes torn

by eager fingers when they first arrived

bringing news from home.

Some are written on paper torn

from schoolbooks, or written on the backs

of things no longer needed:

no notepaper to speak of in the house.

I would welcome comments on this poem with constructive criticism. I want these poems to be as good as possible, partly because I always want that and partly because I want to do the letters justice and I want to produce work that can stand next to Maria Walker’s wonderful artwork and still hold up its head.



Filed under poetry, Poetry Collections, The Inspirational Old Letters