Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Love Letter

08:32:00 Posted by Lara Clayton , , , , , , 7 comments

Writers and poets have written letters for centuries; declarations of their love scribed on parchment, sealed inside an envelope and sent. But in a world that is progressively dependent on technology, is the tradition of letter writing – or more specifically the expression of love – under threat? Perhaps the more complicated aspects of life blind us, distort that which is simple. With our lack of sight we lose our way, and forget how to listen to the faint murmurs of heart.

For in a world that is reliant on the material (things of monetary worth), and which favours the concrete over the abstract, the concept of ‘love’ has become a cliché. As modern poets, we fear being clichéd, thus perhaps a part of us fears the subject of love... It would seem far easier to write of pain and sorrow – of a breakup, of the darkness in our minds – than to write about the joy.

I, myself, have only written a fraction of poems that could assert to have ‘love’ as their theme. And they are self-conscious, clumsy stanzas – worried of straying into a clichéd landscape: saying too much (flouting Grice’s Maxim of Quantity), only being able to speak in hyperbole (flouting Grice’s Maxim of Quality) and resulting in a poem of obscurity (flouting Grice’s Maxim of Manner). Therefore, I tend to find myself avoiding the subject of love – or tripping ‘head over heels’, if I dare to venture too near...

However, this week’s theme (‘Priceless Words’) made me think of love – and the letters that allow it to be preserved for years to come. Perhaps spending a week in Devon with my Nan has made me sentimental – but as she retold stories about her and my Grandpa’s holiday in the Lake District, it was impossible not to be moved. They were stories I’d never heard before, stories that only my Nan could tell and for me, at least, they are priceless.

I could conclude this blog post with one of Keats’ letters to Fanny Brawne, or Lord Byron’s declarations to Countess Teresa Guiccioli – in fact there is a multitude of love letters to quote from – but I’ve chosen instead to share a letter that my Grandpa wrote to my Nan while they were courting. My Nan, at the time, looked after the children of a doctor and his wife. She went with them on holiday for two weeks to the Durley Hall Hotel, Bournemouth – and my Grandpa wrote to her daily.

(15.07.1949) Friday 9.PM.

Hello my Sweetheart.

Thank you again for another letter, if the postman missed me one morning I would run him all round Coventry.

You ask me what I have been doing, well, I’ll let you into a secret, I am being miserable all the time. Don’t think I am blaming you, darling, because just think how nice it will be when you come back. I think it will have been worth it, don’t you?

Look darling, don’t bother to buy any presents because no one expects any, also don’t bother about Robert because it is his birthday in August, so it will be as well to wait for that. We can buy him something then. You know I don’t want you to buy me anything, as long as you love me that is all I shall ever want, darling.

Well, my sweetheart, we have got the first week over so the next one shouldn’t be too bad. I’m looking forward to a week tomorrow darling, are you!

Don’t worry about the camera, sweetheart. I’m sure it is alright, it has never let anyone down yet. I’ve booked up for Skegness on the Friday, I hope that will be alright for you. I wanted to book for the Monday, but as usual I was too late.

Have you decided what you are going to wear to come home in? Also, what you are doing about your case?

I think I shall go to the Forum tomorrow night, but I don’t suppose I shall enjoy it as I won’t be able to put my arm around you and feel your head on my shoulder. By the way, what do you mean about saving you a lot of kisses, you know I haven’t anyone else to give them to and what’s more I don’t want to give them to anyone else. You had better buy yourself at least six sticks of lipstick because you will need that many for Saturday alone.

But no joking sweetheart, I do love you more than I can tell and next Saturday is the only day I have been looking forward to since you went away. Will you marry me darling?

Well sweetheart, that is all for now so night, night and God Bless you, darling

all my love


P.S. Hurry Home.

Even after death words have the power to survive – to speak a voice that we thought we’d never have the opportunity to hear – and for that reason, words can be some of the most priceless (and precious) things in our lives

Thank you for reading,




Lindsay said...

I'm choked here, precious words indeed. Lovely and evocative post Lara. x

ione said...

lar this is beautiful i never knew about these love letters either while i was reading the beautiful words written by grandpop george i felt so moved this is just amazing it brought me to tears (happy tears of course) of such a great man our grandpop george xxx

Lara Clayton said...

Ione: Nan gave me the originals about a year ago... You're more than welcome to read the other letters.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Lindsay here. That moved me to tears whilst I was reading it. He really had a way with words.


Nikki Magennis said...

That is beautiful. What a lovely letter.

vicky ellis said...

I loved reading this Lara, thanks so much for sharing it.

I will be boastful and tell you that I have a collection of such words of my own. They are in email format and I'll venture to say they are just as moving, to me at least :)

Ste said...

I read this earlier while rushed at work. Glad I came back. Loved the letter. I think it's weird how nowadays we don't seem to share this stuff (My own Grandparents letters only came to my dad's posession after they were both dead) and yet it brings you so much closer to them. Sometimes we place more importance on saying something 'face to face' (like 'will you marry me?' for instance)but setting it down on paper definitely has a power of its own. Thanks for sharing Lara :)