Dammit. Every time I commit to a writing prompt, I’m left to write a poem–something I’m not terribly good at, but an internal promise is a promise. Let me explain. Sometimes when I’ve been staring at a cursor for well over an hour-and-a-half, I decide to go search for a writing prompt. Today is one of those days. The site I use has 365 writing prompts. There’s usually some question as to which writing prompt I’m going to use. I was going to ask my readers to pick a number between 1-365 and then write whatever the prompt said but I figured that was really just a delay tactic. Then there’s always the possibility that nobody would answer my question.
I made an executive decision to pick my own number, and decided to pick the date–the 13th. Perfect number for me since it follows me around everywhere. Where am I usually sitting at a restaurant? Table #13. Which check-in counter do I get told to go to at the airport? #13. How many items do I have in my grocery cart? You get the picture. I also made a commitment that no matter what was contained on the 13th writing prompt, I was going to write it. Next time I need to be more wishy-washy in my commitment.
Today’s writing prompt is “Write a poem using words from a famous letter or a letter from your own collection.” All my handwritten letters are in a storage facility and probably 99.9% of my emailed letters have been deleted so a famous letter it is!
The letter I chose is from Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams. I chose this one because it is a love letter. Love is something I know a little about, very little, in fact (a joke!). Without further ado, here’s the letter from Abigail to John:
December 23, 1782
My Dearest Friend,
…should I draw you the picture of my heart it would be what I hope you would still love though it contained nothing new. The early possession you obtained there, and the absolute power you have obtained over it, leaves not the smallest space unoccupied.
I look back to the early days of our acquaintance and friendship as to the days of love and innocence, and, with an indescribable pleasure, I have seen near a score of years roll over our heads with an affection heightened and improved by time, nor have the dreary years of absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind the image of the dear untitled man to whom I gave my heart.
The Letter Poem
The early absolute possession of my heart
took us both by surprise.
For the first time, my soul saw a future.
Someone who would take everything I had to give,
and turn it into a gift, no matter how ugly & unwanted.
Love and innocence have been replaced by peaceful devotion.
The dreary years of absence have only made the presence more magical.