Next Chapter

By: Holly Lynn

My favorite poem fell out of a book.  I was pricing old, donated books for a special book sale years ago.  “From Me to You”, a poem by Scottish writer Alastair Reid, was published in” The New Yorker” magazine in the 1960s.  Someone had ripped it from their magazine, folded it and used it as a bookmark.  Then they forgot about it. The first time I read it, I liked it.  Then I read it again later and loved it. Since then, I’ve read it many times and shared it with friends.  I even took it to “Poetry Discussion Group” and one of my friends said that it is his favorite poem now, too.

I absolutely adore the conversation in the poem.  It speaks of the sweetness of private life.  About the ordinary things that we know and come to love.  The narrator in the poem writes his love asking her to “write me a long letter, as if from home”.  He wants her to write about snowfalls, the sounds of the geese and even the weather.  More than nostalgia, he longs for home.

When Alastair Reid passed away in 2014 at the age of 88, “The New Yorker” did a brief story on his life.  Mr. Reid lived everywhere – Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Morocco, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and in the United States.  He was a code breaker in the Navy during WWII and later a teacher, secretary and writer, among other things.  I envy his ability to travel light and leave on a moment’s notice.  He thought nothing of changing residence when he was disenchanted with a place.

I am not sure who the person is he is writing to in the poem.  None of the information on the Internet mentions a wife.  I suppose travelers have trouble settling down for long.  However, the poem has a true intimacy even the most romantic poems lack.

The last line of the poem is “Write, and I’ll come.”  I wonder if she did write him.  I’m not sure if I want to know more.  Maybe a poem that is a perfect slice in time is enough.  My guess is that it doesn’t get better than that.


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