Found Poem

Posted by: Richenda at Tuesday June 12, 2007 in

There are times when doing all this historical stuff that you come across something really simple and beautiful. A good friend of mine, M. L. Dehm did that the other day. A tale of romance and coming of age. And bittersweet.

She came across a photograph with a picture of a young man. On the back was a message, hand written in blocky code symbols. A straight substitution code, though to crack it we tried a number of ciphers before figuring it out and getting it right!

This story is such a heart felt and personal one. A true ‘found poem.’ It was never supposed to be public, so I’m not posting the photograph. But here is the back. The back of the photograph—with writing in code—looks like this:

It says:

Once, I loved him with all my heart and placed in him my love’s blindest trust. Then I loved him and loved him well. But now that I love him, there can be no doubt. Yet say I have perfect trust in him, I cannot. I must still say I love him, yet why I cannot tell. For though he knew I loved him all too well, he dealt that love a blow, which caused its depth to fall so low, that I could then have hated him with ease if he would, but have had it so. Yet he would not, and now he has taught me to love him so well that it has become a weakness that I can never kill. I kissed him first with love, he was first to offer me an insult yet this I forgave him through the strength of the old, sweet love. Oh my love! No one can ever love you so well as I, whom you give not a thought anymore.

The note is signed: The one who holds in keeping that which cannot ever be returned .

Though we cannot be sure what happened and why, and we do not really know who is the writer or the boy in the photograph. But I’m guessing this is an old tale. The story of a boy who falls in love with his best friend. And unfortunately for him, that friend does not return his romantic affection. It’s so heartrending! First love wrapped up in all the bitter-sweet struggle of adolescence. Here, a lifelong friendship suddenly becomes very, very complicated.

Whoever the letter writer was, I hope he found his way.

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