Even Verse

   I had not intended to spend a week considering postcard verse.  As far as I know, no poets who got their start ever won a Nobel prize for Literature, and there’s a reason for that.

    Still, it served its purpose: many the postcard was sent where we would now send a greeting card, and how many of us read the verse inside before our eyes turn down to see that it’s from Aunt Booney (thank heaven she sent a card and not a box of her rum balls this year.  Last year four bomb-sniffing dogs with the postal Service keeled over from the fumes.  What did the poem inside the card say?  I forget.)

    One of the most common sentiments expressed on postcards was a variant of “Thinking of You”, only with an edge.  This was an age of literate amusements, and “You owe me a letter” is the message of many a postcard, like the one above.  It’s like a cute little baby scorpion: short and sweet with a sting in its tail.  One could express the same thought in a less pushy way.

    The same message, combining “Thinking of You” with a more overt “Missing You”, is shown in this card, which has me slightly confused.

    Is the sender promising never to shake you off as a friend, or promising that no matter what dumb things you say, you won’t be grabbed by the shoulders and shaken?  I’m also a little worried by “Best Wishes”.

    I suppose you could send a group greeting to a whole family.  It doesn’t HAVE to be a card you sent to your harem.  I’ll worry about it tomorrow, for tomorrow is another day.

    Speaking of which, the postcard verse could also be used to teach you a thing or two, to remind you of important precepts and encourage you to look around you with wonder and optimism and all that other supposedly infallible fuel.  Take Day By Day, for example.

    I think I’d rather use those crumbs to scatter and hope to draw in a bluebird of happiness, but that would have made a longer poem.

    Valentines and romantic poems are easier.  You generally know what the writer is aiming for, even if it does make it sound like the object of your affection is a rare collectible.

    We’re on firmer ground when we come to the humorous poem.  There’s not a whole lot of mystery in, say, a tribute to one of the storekeepers in your neighborhood.

    Nor is there any mystery to this classic, which was hopping about in vaudeville before postcards were invented.  (And may well have been recited by jesters before vaudeville was invented.)

    But even here there are bewildering poetic passages.  I understand the story here and I love Miss French on her postcard.  But I have a feeling she would have been a handful in real life.

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