Thursday, December 21, 2006

Our Secrets Within..

Continuing the theme of handbags, I found a poem by Ruth Fainlight. It's moving and beautiful and reading this, I could smell and see and touch the contents of her mother's bag.
I also have a sheaf of my mother's letters, written to my father when they were very young. I think I'm probably just about old enough to appreciate them now!
Here is the lovely poem:


My mother's old leather handbag,
crowded with letters she carried
all through the War. The smell
of my mother's handbag: mints
and lipstick and Coty powder.
The look of those letters, softened
and worn at the edges, opened,
read, and refolded so often.
Letters from my father. Odour
of leather and powder, which ever
since then has meant womanliness,
and love, and anguish, and war.

Ruth Fainlight.


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