Incident in St. Christopher's Place

Dear, I haven’t been in touch

For a long time.


The last time I saw you

Was in St. Christopher’s Place.

It was a lovely evening...

When I knocked that chair over.

I am sorry.

Since then,

I’ve had not a few accidents

Of that kind.


Just three days ago,

I slipped out in a garden

At a friend’s house...

And keeled over, not once,

Not twice, but three times,

Like a log...clonking my nut

So violently that people heard me

In the sitting room.

What’s more,

I can’t remember a single sentence

Spoken all evening. The problem is…

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Incident in St. Christopher’s Place is an edited and roughly versified version of a letter written to a friend, and referring to a series of events that took place in ca. 1990 during a very dark period for me, but never sent.

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Every year when it arrives we rush to put on our Christmas sweaters

Sit down in front of the fireplace and read their Holiday letter.


In this age of social media, when each day our senses are assailed…

It’s wonderful to slow our pace a little and read their letter received in the mail.


Their letter outlines the year they’ve had…there on the paper for us to see

The highs and lows, but mostly highs, of our good friends and their family.


In what ways were they blessed this year…what set their world aglow…

How their family has grown and what has changed from a mere 12 months ago.


The traveling they’ve done, the places they’ve seen, the what, how, why and who…

What their children have been doing…and, of course, their grandchildren too.


We love reading about their adventures…how their lives all intertwine…

But what we love most about their letter…is what we read between the lines.


The sentiment is lovely, and while reading, we are thoroughly engaged…

We wonder at how the words stay fixed upon the paper 

but the love flows off the page.


For part of the beauty of their letter is the beauty we cannot see…

How the love that went into the writing…floats out onto Deborah and me.


That’s why we can’t wait for their letter to arrive each year

because for a moment our lives are intertwined….

as we sit down in front of the fireplace…


and read between the lines.

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