Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Never Ending Wait in Line

Isn't it odd.... the things we remember?  Some of you will remember my day-long stressful experience at the post office that turned out to be hilarious.  Over 50 years ago, I read a poem and every single time I am in a post office -- I still think of it. It was written by one of my favorite poets, James Kavanaugh.  He wrote about life and love.  Most of his poems asked questions - which trigger thought.  I have enjoyed every single poem he has written and they obviously have made an impact. Some of his works dig deep but this is a lighter one.  Suffice it to say, next time you are in a post office, I bet you remember this poem:

The Post Office

I've never dealt with Russian commissars
Nor spent a single day in prison camps,
But I often meet the ghost of buried czars
When I try to buy a roll of eight-cent stamps.

Post office reek of government and death,
Of barren tables, somber pens on chains,
Of endless lines and agents short of breath,
Whose voices sound like just before it rains.

While fish markets have a style - and smell unique,
And even banks give plates and cups away,
Grocery clerks don't mumble when they speak,
But postal clerks are tutored in delay.

The postage stamps are hidden carefully in drawers,
And postage's never owed - by God, it's DUE!
Tiles of subway brown are on the floors,
The decor smacks of early twine and glue.

But pictures give a touch of rare relief,
--The vintage shots of hunted, wanted ones --
They give me new respect for federal thieves
And reveries of robberies and guns,
Which sometimes seem to ease my rising stress
And help me think of bold, exciting days
When mail was borne on pony-back express,
Or Jesse James the reason for delays.

But as I wait in line amid the gloom, 
--And agents leave for lunch when I get near--
My eyes attend the drab and stuffy room
And wonder what could possibly bring cheer.

Do you think wallpaper would help?

Photos courtesy of,,

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