Sunday, 4 June 2017

Attic trunk

Dear Reader,
                                                                                   Vintage postcards


Postcards became popular at the turn of the 20th century, especially for sending short messages to friends, and were quickly acquired by collectors of pop culture, photography, and wartime memorabilia or local history.  Novelty postcards were made using wood, aluminium, copper or cork.  Silk postcards, often embroidered over a printed image, were wrapped around cardboard and sent in see-through glassine paper envelopes; these were especially popular during World War I.  In the 1930s and l940s postcards were printed on brightly coloured paper designed to look like linen.  In 1903, when the postcard cult was near its peak, the number sent through the post had grown nearly ten times since 1871, when the total had staggered the Post Office.  The total sent that year was over 600 million.  In 1905 alone it was estimated that the post offices of the world coped with over seven billion postcards!

I am really sad that postcards hardly ever fall through my letter box these days.  I did so enjoy getting postcards from friends in all sorts of strange places, and not so strange.  There was something very exciting about seeing a card on the mat, and wondering who had thought about you and from where.  And then there were the 'potential lover' cards so much looked forward to, and perused over and over again - perhaps to find some hidden meaning in the words about the weather, or the enjoyment of a book they had taken with them.  Emails, I think, are not the same at all; you can't pick them up and put them on the mantlepiece or place them under your pillow as I did with some of the postcards I received.

                                                                           *


Attic Trunk

Searching through her mother's attic trunk
she recognized a dusty, broken cricket bat,
saw a tiny knotted shawl that must have shrunk
and a youthful photo of Aunt Dora, looking fat.
She found silver shoes wrapped in a crimson gypsy skirt
and a purple box housing a worn-thin wedding ring,
a Spanish fan trimmed with lace and a grandad shirt
embracing faded love letters, tied with ageing string.
From sepia postcards she studied unknown folk,
and pulled out, lovingly, a greasy-tweed cloth cap,
her father's penny whistle, a badger carved from oak,
and brass rubbings, rolled up in a parchment map.
Precious things we keep are candles on our life's tree,
their discovery tells secret stories, provides a key.

                                                                            
                                                                               *

With best wishes, Patricia

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Again and again you home in on the 'ordinary' and make it so special. Thank you for your blog and for sharing so many heartfelt and poignant poems. Xx

Rebecca said...

This is my new favourite from a collection of many dear ones.
Thank you and looking forward to hearing them read aloud on Wednesday x