Your second letter arrived this week,
green edged air mail. The only place in the world
to have these envelopes, I’ll bet,
and in case that’s not enough, a small printed
shamrock and Bronze Age jewellery on the stamp,
Tobair an Choir on the post mark: my address
in royal blue. You don’t seem too bothered
about countries, England’s an afterthought
in the corner. With your own you get as far
as Gurteen but no further. What are
states and nations your writing seems to say?
Four Easter eggs and holldays from school,
two kisses and a heart.
Aren’t there laws against letters as young
as this travelling on their own by air?
You’ve only been around five years. Hardly time
to learn to clean your teeth, and here you are
sending a whole page of proper sentences
thousands of miles, getting foreign post codes
right, being taken seriously by postmen,
addressing me as Ms. and, no doubt, by now
learning like a grown up to wait for a reply.
by Mary Woodward
‘Enda’s Letter’ is copyright © Mary Woodward, 2014. It is reprinted from The White Valentine (Worple Press, 2014) by permission of Worple Press.
Notes from Worple Press:
Mary Woodward was born in Hammersmith to Irish and Welsh parents. As a child she lived in bomb-damaged Shepherd’s Bush, grew up on a council estate in Hertfordshire, and then studied in Liverpool. She has an English degree and a Master’s degree for research on William Morris’s early poetry from the University of Liverpool. She has worked in the Department of Education, and from 1979 to 2002 as a teacher in a comprehensive school; in 1993 she won the TES Teaching Poetry prize. After teaching HND Fashion students she went on to win the Guardian Jackie Moore Award for Fashion Writing in 2003. In 1993 she won the Poetry Business poetry competition and published Almost Like Talking (Smith Doorstep). In 2008 she was awarded a place on a Poetry Trust First Collection seminar at Bruisyard Hall. Her poems have been in many magazines and frequently placed in competitions. Her poem ‘White Valentine’ was Highly Commended in the Forward Prize for Poetry 2014. She also has published short fiction. Read more about the book from Worple’s website.
Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997 and publishes 6-8 books a year by new and established poets: collections, pamphlets, works in translation, essays, interviews. Early authors included Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Beverley Bie Brahic, Kevin Jackson and the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault. Recent collections (2014/2015) include Andy Brown’s Exurbia, Isabel Galleymore’s Dazzle Ship, Martyn Crucefix’s A Hatfield Mass, Julian Stannard’s The Street of Perfect Love, and Clive Wilmer’s Urban Pastorals. More information can be found at the publisher’s website, and on Facebook and Twitter.
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