Postcard Stamps

Did Phoebe Hesketh send postcards? I think she did.I went to the post office just now to mail three postcards to friends. I was told the post office had no postcard stamps. That’s odd. I was then told that their computers are not capable of printing out a generic stamp for 33 cents. This was also strange to me, as I’ve received postcards from friends (see photo) where this was clearly possible. Maybe computers are more advanced in Portland, where they are made from redwood instead of birch. So, to my three friends for whom I have written postcards, there will be a small delay.

As with most of my opinions, there is an 88-year-old woman who agrees with me:

The Terrible Beauty of Efficiency

Phoebe Hesketh

Rivington Village post office
as I knew it sixty years ago
with its scratched wooden table, ink-well,
cross-nibbed pen and blotting-paper reflecting
bucolic signatures,
its packets of Woodbines
and jars of spiralling barley-sugar,
is all changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

There’s a counter smooth with efficiency
and a shining metal grille
guarding the new, smart postmistress
(since the old one was mugged) –
Oh, so smart you’d never hear her say
like the other,
after giving me the wrong stamp
(which I told her I’d licked),
‘Never mind,’ as she took it back,
‘It’ll dry!’

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