Dead Letter Office

Dead Letter Office …

Dead Letter Office


I often pause to contemplate

Life the way it was.

It seems a different place and time,

We did things “just because.”


Wages were extremely low

But everything was cheap.

The whole world seemed a safer place,

And most people earned their keep.


We used a simple pen and paper

To write letters to our friends.

But everything has changed since then

In our communication trends.


No one had computers then

Except the privileged few.

Email just did not exist,

Tweet was what birds do.


I remember sending letters

To penpals far away,

Sometimes a name or address was wrong

And letters went astray.


If mail was not delivered

Or a recipient not found,

It went to the “Dead Letter Office,”

To track the owner down.


It may be “return to sender,”

Or “not at this address,”

“The recipient is now deceased,”

Or simply not addressed.


Now letters are a dying trend,

They’re very rarely sent.

The letter service runs at a loss,

The mail carrier’s lament.


Email and phone SMS

Technology’s latest trend.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,

Now the preferred info send.


I sadly miss those days gone by

When life was much less pompous.

I would have liked a steady job

At the infamous “Dead Letter Office.”


by John Hansen © 2016

Dead Letter Office

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John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure. After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBooks of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" and "On the Wings of Eagles" at Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction. I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren. I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials. It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years is now wonderful material for my stories and poems. I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

10 thoughts on “Dead Letter Office

  • August 31, 2016 at 5:13 AM

    Very nostalgic verse, John. I miss the days of hand written letters, loved to write and receive them. I saved many letters from family or friends. Your poem brings it all back. And, just for the heck of it, I think I will hand write a letter to someone. I wonder, though, if the internet, SMS and other technology will eventually make post offices a thing of the past. I enjoyed reading your poem, it is well penned and nostalgic. Thanks for writing this.

  • August 31, 2016 at 5:27 AM

    Thank you, Phyllis. I often get nostalgic and think of times gone by. I miss a lot of things like hand-writing letters. I had some trouble with the rhyme and flow of this poem but I think I managed to get my message across.

  • August 31, 2016 at 7:40 PM

    A wonderful expression John, and I so agree. That’s why I’m so committed to writing because it too will fall by the wayside if we don’t use language. TXT and all those hideous abbreviations are an insult to the purpose of language and find such beauty in words, the change is an affront to me. Ah, we all lament that which has been lost, in our old age. The good ol’ days, as our children shake their heads. Nicely penned my friend.

  • August 31, 2016 at 9:56 PM

    Yes, Tony, you are exactly right. We have to keep writing to try to preserve the art and also encourage children to read. I was always complimented on my handwriting and calligraphy, and if I wasn’t doing all my rough drafts in a notebook I’d virtually never use it other than writing in greeting cards and signing stuff. n

  • August 31, 2016 at 11:37 PM

    Letter? What’s a letter?

    Life was once so much slower, deeper, and more meaningful. It made more sense. Now our culture is shallow, self centered, entitled, rushed and demanding. I miss letters and even cards. The nostalgia, as Phyllis said is delightful.

  • September 1, 2016 at 12:42 AM

    Glad you enjoyed this little piece of nostalgia, Lori. I agree with your view of our culture today. Oh, for the good old days.

  • September 6, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    Good writers find quality in the mundane….you are so very good at it. I absolutely loved this, John!

  • September 6, 2016 at 10:57 PM

    Thanks for the kind compliment, Bill. Glad you liked this. I think a lot of people miss the humble letter.

  • September 17, 2016 at 11:44 AM

    I often desire to start writing great letters to friends and fellow poets. But alas I never do. Email will have to suffice. Jamie

  • September 17, 2016 at 4:19 PM

    I know Jamie. I recently came in contact with an old school buddy.he requested I write him a letter. I agreed but still haven’t gotten around to it.


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