Poetry Sunday: Mailboxes in Late Winter by Jeffrey Harrison

Winter in cold climes can, of course, be hard on people, but in rural areas, it can also be very hard on mailboxes. By late winter, they are showing the scars of the effects of the long season. Like all of us, they wait for "news from spring." 

Jeffrey Harrison feels their pain.

Mailboxes in Late Winter

by Jeffrey Harrison

It’s a motley lot. A few still stand
at attention like sentries at the ends
of their driveways, but more lean
askance as if they’d just received a blow
to the head, and in fact they’ve received
many, all winter, from jets of wet snow
shooting off the curved, tapered blade
of the plow. Some look wobbly, cocked
at oddball angles or slumping forlornly
on precariously listing posts. One box
bows steeply forward, as if in disgrace, its door 
lolling sideways, unhinged. Others are dented, 
battered, streaked with rust, bandaged in duct tape,
crisscrossed with clothesline or bungee cords.
A few lie abashed in remnants of the very snow 
that knocked them from their perches.
Another is wedged in the crook of a tree
like a birdhouse, its post shattered nearby.
I almost feel sorry for them, worn out
by the long winter, off-kilter, not knowing
what hit them, trying to hold themselves
together, as they wait for news from spring.


  1. Wow! Only yesterday my husband pointed out the damage to our mailbox from ice shot up by the plow. Must say, I am a little 'worn out by the long winter, off-kilter...' myself. P. x

    1. By this time in the season I think we are all feeling a bit off-kilter.

  2. I could picture it all. Ours is by the street at the bottom of the driveway and tends to list at this time of year.

    1. He does paint quite a vivid word picture, doesn't he?

  3. Years ago, traveling in Virginia in April, I saw a billboard next to a church, declaring that spring was a postcard from on high. I turned to my husband and said "Ours (in upstate New York) must be lost in the mail." I wonder if those mailboxes wonder when their postcard will finally come.

    1. Good one, Alana! I'm sure your postcard will be arriving soon.

  4. Oh, I need Spring to arrive soon! :-o Like you said, very vivid poem, and so true. The last stanza is really something, eh?

    1. The image of the mailboxes "trying to hold themselves together, as they wait for news from spring" sums it all up, doesn't it? I think a lot of people can relate to that.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Poetry Sunday: Don't Hesitate by Mary Oliver

Overboard by Sara Paretsky: A review

The Investigator by John Sandford: A review