Monthly Archives: November 2015

Unsolicited Mail

Yellow Pages

Stray words of brochures come through my letterbox, but soon get thrown away.
And yellow pages of directories which have no story, flutter onto the mat and die.

O bundle of little reminders of the world, leave your words hidden so that I may not read you.

We meet briefly on the doormat. You came uninvited. Shall I let you in?

Time stretches before me like a blank chequebook waiting to be filled with numbers and the desire for ownership.

It is the publicity of the market that keep her customers smiling.

No one knows the time of delivery; the person who waits by the door often waits in vain.

I hear the slap of the letterbox. “Welcome, old friends. Wipe the rain from your envelopes.”

Like the rising sun, you offer promise without delay, but you carry on your back the shadow of debt.

I see that the letterbox is poking out its tongue at me. An envelope cries out, Open Now.
Later I will, ever curious about distant worlds where everything is bold and urgent.

The flyer is sorry for the newspaper at the burden of its word-count.

I know that you are no stranger. You tried to bribe me with tawdry gifts and phony pictures. Do I need you again. No.

The sealed envelope hides its worthless mysteries, but the folded sheet shouts loudly.

I sit at my window; this morning the postman brings a bunch of papers like yellow leaves of autumn, nods to me and goes.

Although you mingle with the first class mail, you will never rise to such a position of authority.

Let me believe there is something concealed among these papers that will bring light to the darkness of my solitary existence.

The bright envelope says to the flimsy flyer – “Shall we journey together on the way to the wheelie-bin?”

The summer holiday and the Christmas Lunch booking have their moments, but the pizza menu and the plastic bag for clothes know no seasons.

Poor design blends the colours of the rainbow to the pointless concatenations of useless words.

The advertising sheets imitate the rustle of falling leaves, hiding the second class mail on the tiled floor.

The blurb can never grow into truth by growing in hyperbole.

I came to your house as a stranger, I lived briefly in your hallway as a guest, I leave your home as landfill, my friend.

Things look amazing in this glimmer of dawn. Without my glasses, the details are blurred into jumbled blobs of ink. I shall wait till I’ve had my coffee before I look at you in the light.

Truth never comes even in its final word; and the final word returns next week.


© 2015 Peter Young

#147     The dust of the dead words clings to thee. Wash thy soul with silence.

This is an irreverent parody of the Bengali writer, Rabindranath Tagore’s “Stray Birds” published in 1916.  The last verse above, #147 is Tagore’s. I bought a copy of Stray Birds when I was in Mumbai in 1971 – the badly-printed hard-back Indian edition. Alas I no longer have it, nor can I remember where it went. If you are unfamiliar with this work, a quick search on google for Stray Birds pdf will find it for you.



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Rockets, your insult to the stars follows yourself back to the earth.

Rabindranath Tagore. Stray Birds #240

Look up from your candyfloss, raise your gaze
The vertical spark trail, the bang, the flash,
See the succession of spherical rays
That flare and diminish and fall to ash.
Remind you of something? Perhaps it might
Hint at existence, your place in the world
That’s here and gone in a flicker of light,
That shone all too briefly as you unfurled
Your plan for the universe, or that fun
For fifteen minutes; you’ve hardly begun
To bring about change, and then it’s all done.
When daylight comes you’ll see what’s left behind
Does not inspire great thoughts, and vow to find
A better way to fill your time and mind.

Puylaroque Chateau d'Eau Firework Cases 130812 1© Peter Young 2015

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