the letter


It snowed along the night, piled up
to just beneath the window sills,
mostly printouts, black and white,
so we shaped an outdoor dining set
of ink and paper, and took our morning coffee
on the balcony.

Orchilla dearest, you fill my thoughts
with wasted words
that I will not share with you.
And yet for lunch, as a special surprise,
I shall prepare spaghetti macramé al dente.

By way of a reply, Orchilla read from a tabletop page.

In the time of waning,  when the lenses fall
with their
 diopter truth, I will dream of you,
a desiccated raindrop in an empty storm of words.


While I firmly boiled and knotted
each spaghetti strand,
I kept an eye on dear Orchilla
with my patented x-ray vision.

She’d collected several pages from the dining set,
and in the top-floor bedroom
with a small dog looking on,
she twisted them and set alight the tapers,
watched the ashen flurries blackening the bed sheets.


The postman used a plow to reach our door,
and rang the doorbell in multiplicitous disdain.

I had a letter, I’m afraid I lost it,
but by good fortune, I’ve memorized its contents.

He struck a pose and began his recitation.

Quite shy you are, Renato, yet as helpful as a rabbit,
and I’ll not forget our meeting in the forest
beneath the slowly hanging gardens.

So no more games, my love,
it’s you and me together,
the knight and queen of boardwalk blues,
strutting on the tiles to the corner triple word scores.

I was taken aback.

Although our dog might call himself Renato
in his mind, your letter was most surely
for another addressee.

The postman mimed intense concern.

No-one sorts the letters except for Les and Rodney,
though I do recall a Benford Street address.

Benford Street, I mused, is a preface to infinity
where nothing is enumerated.
The homes themselves are odd or partly even.

The leaves and leaflets swirled in a sudden gust,
and a second dawn, a firestorm, bled into the sky.


  • W B Yeats “The Madness of King Goll” and “To an Isle in the Water” in Crossways 1889
  • Terry Pratchett, Going Postal 2004
  • Renato put in an appearance here
  • Benford’s law: with first digits in street numbers, for example, the ones are far more common than any other digit; this happens because streets have varying finite lengths.

Entropica video, from VEE, the visual evolution engine, with EMMA, an entropy min-max add-on, and some whales. EMMA adjusts entropy (detail) as the image evolves. Video is low res but best at HD 720p.

38 thoughts on “the letter

  1. your references to my beloved poet has me loving this piece so much more than i already did. you have a brilliant mind Mr Simpson! so many things we want to say and wish we could but end up twiting and knotting it like cooked spaghetti strands, eaten with remorse and good intention. oh so loved the part about the letter you lost but memorised the words, they were never sent to you were they? though you hoped, and when the postman came the letter was already ashes upon the bed linen. tears that were singed by sad eyelashes. i could be just totally wrong about the whole thing and you just wanted to rant about your postman’s deliveries!! LOL!! once again you have out a smile on my face and happy tune in my heart. P/S : i finally got a copy of Yeats collected works when i was in DC, after many long years, its finally mine!! happy weekend Steve!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I keep my mind in a jar, Gina. It is probably the best place for it.

      You’re very insightful, and I can tell you that I have no complaints about my postman who is very kind and rides his motorbike up to my door to hand deliver larger parcels. As you say, our words get knotted, and so do our relationships. When relationships knot, there are secrets, lack of empathy, misunderstandings.

      I was reading Yeat’s Collected Poems when I wrote this, but, as I wrote, it changed direction my almost 180 degrees and I went back and rewrote the first part. Thank you, glad you enjoyed.

      Liked by 2 people

    • your writing stays with me, its hard to shake off, this one in particular as it got me thinking about letters promised to me but never came. people know our weak spots and exploit it.

      that jar is crystal clear and so lucid. it is a wealth of creativity and information. you bring much flavour to my writing and reading world Steve.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “I will dream of you, a desiccated raindrop in an empty storm of words”… This poem is like a tsunami, low tide and rainbow – all bundled up together. Really enjoyed reading it and grateful to the postman for memorizing the contents of the lost letter, Steve 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your postman reminds me of Willy Nilly, the postman in Llareggub, the town in Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood. He gives everyone open post, having read the contents he summarizes the content, handing them the letter only as a sort of confirmation he isn’t lying. Learned a new word from this one too: diopter, which I now have to try & understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “A desiccated raindrop in an empty storm of words.” Ouch. I love “spaghetti macrame”! Takes me back to the 70s. This one makes me smile. But I think it’s sad that no one writes letters anymore. With a postman like that, perhaps they would. That video is mesmerizing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The desiccated raindrop was one of the last bits I wrote when I realized what was actually going on with the characters, it seemed to fit.

      Yes, letters meant so much in the past, they had a special importance. In fact, any distance communication was more difficult, especially for me, living away from home in South America. Even phone calls were kind of more significant I think.

      Thank you, BG. With the video, I hope to do more in full HD, to better show the appearance and disappearance of detail.


  5. Your best ever Steve. I love it and shall re-read it many times. The moving image of the postman who reads the letters puts me in mind of the postman in ‘Under milkwood’ who told everyone what was in their neighbour’s letters before they were delivered. The video is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for saying that, Margaret. It suggests I might be improving, rather than the opposite, which is what I sometimes think.

      That other postman obviously made an impression, because someone else noticed the similarity. Although I have a short volume of poetry by Dylan Thomas, I haven’t read “Under Milkwood.” I’ll have to fix that.

      The videos are another work in progress: time is always the problem. Thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know if I would find it flattering for someone to dream of me as “a desiccated raindrop in an empty storm of words”… probably not. 🙂
    Love the part where the protagonist is taken aback and tells the postman that the dog “might call himself Renato in his mind”. I wish I knew what my cat calls herself in her mind. 😉
    Enjoyed your video art, Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I imagine almost nobody would find it flattering. I might, but that would be the exception rather than the rule.

      With the dog, perhaps the protagonist was just trying to cover all the bases. With cats. it’s hard to know. I suppose if you train a dog to come when you call the name you’ve given it, that name is in its mind somewhere. Maybe the dog thinks. “Why don’t they use my real name?” 😸 Thank you, Magarisa.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is beautiful Steve… is full of echoes as a few of the other comments have pointed out…it also has an Anglo angle to it…the postman….Les and Rodney……talking of Dylan Thomas…..there is a long Welsh joke about a town where everyone is called Evans which ends with someone knocking on the postman’s door…intriguing video….wonderful post overall…JIM

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jim. I agree, and also a particular era I guess, when the post was more relevant. I’d started off reading some Yeats, and all sorts of stuff randomly bounced around in my head. Fortunately the Box Tops didn’t make an appearance.


    • The Box Tops, absolutely. I love one hit wonders, I’d search the whole wide world just to find them. (Sorry, can’t resist.) Thanks Jim, there wasn’t a collection in the works but there might be. WP has been pushing out my longer term goals with the short-term once-a-week. I’ve decided to bite the bullet and go back to once a fortnight with everything on WP, even though you’re not supposed to post that infrequently.

      Now I’ve had a look at all the things on my to-do list, TBH, if I thought I could get away with less often I would. 😑


    • It’s a balance, isn’t it! Still your poems have a depth and scope to live outside the more short term world of the internet. Look forward to seeing whatever you come up with next, weekly or fortnightly!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.